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Assess your organisation

This page provides a way of assessing your organisation. Please follow the instructions that are given below. After a while, a floating button will appear, inviting you to assess your organisation. If you click on this, you will be shown an assessment and a diagnosis.

This assessment is, of course, intended to be used with the book, "Beyond Crisis: Achieving Renewal in a Turbulent World". You may have been referred to this site from the book itself. If you have not yet read the book, you can gain a rough overview from the section "Brief Summary", which is accessible through the menu, above.

How to use this tool

There are over sixty quotations from managers listed below. Next to each, you will see a slider with a button on it. You are invited to move the slider to a position that represents the resonance that you feel between the quote and your organisation. You do not have to move all of the sliders, and it is best to stick to those which seem to really capture what you feel about your organisation.

As you progress, the software is watching your scores, and when these are statistically meaningful, a button pops up that will take you to the assessment page. Once it has appeared, you can continue working, amending sliders or adding new ones until you are satisfied. It should take you 20-40 minutes to complete a full assessment.

The assessment page

When you click the button you are taken to the assessment page and your scores displayed, and a diagnostic is shown. (You can, of course, come back to this page, but your first attempt will have been lost.)

The quotations

These come from real interviews, and represent actual situations. People are being asked to say what is wrong, so most are phrased as a complaint. Please do not be put off by the negative tone!

Some quotations apply to quite specific situations - military procurement, for example - whilst others are generic. You should try to interpret the specific issues into the context of your own organisation. Military procurement may be backward-looking, but are you, too, fighting yesterday's wars?

The assessment questionnaire

Bits of the organisation talk in terms that just do not fit together properly. One part is all numbers and targets, the other are dreaming about great cures they are going to invent. They might be on different planets.


Consider our take on our people: are they assets to be developed, or cost centres to be replaced or outsourced when necessary? This is just one of lots of internal balances that we have not got right.


Everything is numbers and targets, and all the administrators have catch phrases and grand theories that they produce whenever you question if this is the right way to work.


Everything seems to be pinned down by commitments that last for years. The board produces strategies but, in affect, people just carry on as before.


Government is so complex that it is impossible to keep abreast with what is happening. The closest I get to being 'joined up' is gossip.


I can’t ask questions of people outside my line responsibility, because it gets into other people's turf and they start to question the entire project.


I feel strongly that organisations should take a stand on the ethical issues of the day. We have all sorts of statements of good intentions, but nothing that shapes us as this or that sort of organisation.


I feel the organisation is out of control - not running away, but just drifting along, following the old ways.


I know we need to talk more and do less busy work. But I do not want to take people off their daily work, and I also don't want 'special task forces' undermining them.


I suppose that you just have to pick it up on the job and from newspapers. Certainly, I didn't know what an exchange rate was until I went on holiday overseas. Now we use it to guess at export sales.


I think that we really don't want to think about the wide world. It is much more comfortable to do what we have always done, just making it more and more efficient, tidy and controlled.


I want to be Green but I do not want to bankrupt the company. Everyone I ask has a different take on this, and there seems to be no correct balance to take. We should look forward, perhaps, but that also seems an even worse muddle.


I would like to be able to present a set of genuine alternatives to the shareholders and then say: which do you want? But we don't even seem to be able to do that internally.


If you asked around the board as to what we will be like in five years, you will get more answers than there are people. There is no real attempt to define where we might go.


Lots of people tell me stories of how they had an idea, and tried to sell it to the organisation. There was no system to use, their boss got upset because they were not staying in line, and the whole thing was painful.


Most of our resources are already committed to existing businesses, and they just put in plans to do more of the same. The result is that no new things start, and old or outdated plant gets upgraded, defended and protected from critique.


Other divisions seem to think quite differently about priorities and goals, and I have to spend a great deal of time persuading them that a project is worthwhile even considering.


Our board produced a strategy document that could have applied to any company. None of us could see how it changed what we were doing. A lot of the jargon didn't seem to mean anything at all.


Our brand does not really stand for anything, because we are trying to be everything nice. There are contradictions that we have to resolve - are we low cost or a quality brand, for example - and then stand firm.


Our financial planning seems to trail behind our divisional plans, mopping up and trying to add coherence. The divisions put in plans that make no reference to the total organisation.


Our insight into what matters to us in the outside world is at best anecdotal. There is no common message that goes to the organisation that we should think about what is happening in the following way.


Our people are outstandingly creative and we have more good ideas than we know what to do with. The trouble is that most of the ideas do not really go where we want.


Our system needs more clockwork, in the sense that one bit of analysis, one project decision, needs to link into another. We are good at adding up the numbers, but not so good at carrying forward what we have learned.


Our young guys are really on top of the technology. Trouble is, they do not know what we want, and we cannot understand what they have to say.


People are all so pushed to meet their targets that they have no time to think whether they are the right targets. Yes, they are involved in setting them, but the assumptions underlying them are not to be questioned.


People are being asked to cut costs, increase quality, be good to the environment and the workforce – all without any clear guidance on the proper balances.


People come to us wanting money for technology, security, stuff that may be core or may be peripheral – I can't judge. I just have to base my decision on whether I trust the guy


Projects get support because they come from powerful divisions, or because they are just big and absorb everything into maintenance. There is no real thought that goes into this.


Public service ought to be about service to the public. But "service" can be delivered in so many ways, with so many nuances. We never discuss these balances.


Regulators have to balance things like safety, monopoly or pollution. However, it is very hard to have rational conversations with pressure groups that think only about birds, costs or local employment. It's a dialogue of the deaf.


The brand is going to be quite different in two years, because the kids change. We could go for at least five different ways of presenting ourselves. But can I get anyone to talk about this?


The great effort that we put into analysis somehow seems to generate less than the sum of the parts. We have smart analysts and planners but all they produce are big fat books that nobody reads.


The ideas that come to the board seem disconnected from what we want to achieve. They are all technical, detailed, and the people seem surprised when we ask them to put them in context.


The organisation expects us in management to tell them the answers to everything. People never propose new insights or suggest new things on their own initiative.


The organisation feels starved for direction. The top people will not say, because they think we will run away with them. But the real problem is that nobody is talking.


The social responsibility side of the business is probably important. Trouble is, all of our spending on this goes on pretty random nice-to-have stuff, because we haven't really surfaced the deep issues.


The values that younger people have are nothing like my own. They want to work their way, and they have no fear of being pushed out if they don't fit in. They are much less ready to take orders, and they keep bringing in outside issues.


There are dozens of reports stacked up in my cabinet. We have done all sorts of work, but it always seems to die away without anything happening.


There are endless think tank discussions but, in the end, the bits and pieces of insight never really add up to policy. We just cannot make it operational.


There does not seem to be a destination, a target for our activities over the next 3-5 years. It is all focused on today's results: how we are paid, how we talk, how we plan.


There is a complete disconnect between procurement and future roles. We buy for last decade's war, and to defend against political powers that no longer exist.


There is a deep lack of creative conversation across the organisation. This is not because our people are stupid, lazy or even uncreative, but something to do with them not feeling that they have the right to talk this way.


This is a very political organisation, in the sense that the board in particular is in perpetual warfare over resource. I always have to ask "why is he saying that?" when someone says something that sounds even slightly strategic.


This organisation is made up of tribes that really never speak to each other. We all get along OK, but there is no discussion or anything like that.


Visualising the future state of the organisation should help us to innovate and to trim off the bits that are no longer useful. But at best this boils down to the personal opinions of a few senior people.


We are all under so much time pressure that even if we met junior staff informally we would never have time to engage with them. What they think about, I don't know, but if I hear it then it comes through many filters and layers.


We are heading somewhere, of course, but it's not clear where. There is a pretty strong consensus about who we are, but there is a big gap when it comes down to practical steps.


We did not see the Asian bubble, the Internet bubble, the financial bubble. Altogether, that kind of blindness has cost us our credibility and a lot of our market value.


We do not go into new business because we do not understand the risks. Of course we do the analysis, but that seems to tell us how much we do not know. Turning that into next steps is a problem.


We don’t seem to be able to manage our agenda. We are swamped with detail or inadequately briefed, or the briefing seems lopsided. As a result, Our approach to big decisions is primitive.


We don't know if we want a sullen cheap workforce or a happy expensive one. I'm not sure if we even want to talk about what kind of working environment we want to offer.


We get into conflicts almost casually, as though war was an easy option. Then costs mount and blood flows; and then we have the hard questions – why? how? when? - with which we should have started.


We have quite a good planning system, but it's all numbers, If I ask why they have put these numbers in their plan, they say that it was their target. How do I get them to think for themselves?


We have real disagreement about what we are trying to achieve. I don't mean money things, I mean how we present ourselves, what the brand stands for.


We have tried to get our people talking, but they seem very unsure when we give them the opportunity to think widely. They just do not seem to have the habit of talking in this way.


We need a sense of what we are going to become, nested from the very general - perhaps national - down to the very specific. It cannot be precise, but is a way of thinking about potential and limits.


We need to get a grip on what we are going to be, but it is hard to know where to start. We have bright people, but connecting them up into an engine for change seems really hard to achieve.


We seem quite good at understanding what is happening and we have had good discussions about what to do. But I don’t know how to go forward from there.


We spend a lot on finding out how other countries work, and publish big reports, The top guys never have time to read these, though, and it is all seat of the pants when there is a crisis.


We tend to use expert groups to confirm what we want to hear. This is particularly true about soft issues, such as staff morale, value statements and the views of the outside world about us.


We were so good when we started this – everyone was in the team, the idea was clear, the market was out there. Now, everyone is in their bunker and we spend out time on details.


What I notice is that whatever administration we have, there are some values that do not change much. I think that is very valuable, but we also need to be sure that they are the right values, and not just stuff from the attic.


Why do we go on making money? I don't really know – it just drifts along. New competition rethinks the rules – we knew it couldn’t be done, they did it. I don’t understand how to take advantage of the business environment.


You have to design your IT architecture for change, because whilst it has to be tight, it also has to be able to act like a tool box. But this costs money and it is really hard to make the case to bean counters.


Beyond Crisis: Achieving Renewal in a Turbulent World