It is a form of discovery that uses structured conversations between a facilitator and individuals drawn from a designed sample of the organisation’s people. Political responses and other forms of data contamination are avoided by the use of indirect, observational and non-judgemental questions. The analysis flows not from individual responses to particular questions, but from the patterns in the responses.
When might you use it?
OrgScan is a highly effective way of establishing the reality of the organisation’s behaviours and identifying the drivers of those behaviours. If an organisation is planning any sort of change / initiative / programme, OrgScan can be hugely helpful in surfacing the pitfalls that would otherwise befall the initiative at some stage down the line. It has proved to be so valuable to us over the years that we always conduct an OrgScan as the first stage of any assignment we are asked to undertake. We have learned through experience that ‘the presenting problem’ is rarely the one that needs to be fixed.
Equally, it can be useful in a situation where the organisation is not responding in the way the leaders, or leaders of change, intend. This is especially true in the case of mergers and acquisitions, and the need for integration – before or after the event. It addresses the most common cause of failure – differences in the prevailing cultural norms.
What benefits does it bring?
In addition to the expedience and power of this diagnostic tool, every time we complete an OrgScan within an organisation it galvanises the will and the expectation of change in the people involved. Depending on the circumstances and needs, this ‘intervention effect’ can be ramped up or down.