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close this bookGuide for Managing Change for Urban Managers and Trainers (HABITAT, 1991, 190 p.)
close this folderPart I
View the documentInitiating the learning experience
View the documentThe urban management challenge
View the documentOrganizational change: concepts and strategies
View the documentPersonal and organizational effectiveness
Open this folder and view contentsAction research and planning
View the documentGroup effectiveness
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Personal and organizational effectiveness

ACTION SPRINGS NOT FROM THOUGHT BUT FROM A READINESS FOR RESPONSIBILITY

DIETRICH BONHOFFER

TRAINER’S NOTES

Topic: Personal and organizational effectiveness

Time required: Approximately 2 - 2 1/2 hours

This bridges the gap between the discussion of “Organizational change” and the beginning of the sessions on “Action research and planning.” It is designed to help course participants look at their personal readiness to engage in decision-making and problem-solving as well as the readiness of their organization. The questionnaire is written to reflect various steps in the “Action research and planning cycle” which is covered in subsequent sessions. Odd-numbered statements in the questionnaire are designed to cover organizational readiness factors and even-numbered statements, the individual readiness to make decisions and solve problems within the organization.

TASKS:

1. Distribute the questionnaire and ask each individual to complete and score it.

2. Have participants, as they finish the questionnaire, form small groups of three to discuss the results of the questionnaire.

3. In these groups of three, one person is to act as a consultant to another and the third is to observe the discussion and feed back information about the content and process of the discussion to the other two.

The purpose of these discussions is twofold: (a) to help each individual better understand what problems might be affecting his or her individual and organization’s performance when it comes to day-to-day operations, based upon the results of the questionnaire; (b) to practice individual skills in helping others in a coaching, problem solving situation. The role of the observer is to give the other two participants feedback on their ability to clarify the issues and concerns outlined in the assessment questionnaire. The intention is not to determine ways to improve the individual’s, or his or her organization’s, state of readiness but to understand these states of readiness. Each round of discussions and feedback should take approximately 20 minutes (15 for discussion and 5 for observer feedback).

After each participant has had an opportunity to perform all the roles, the total group should be reconvened to discuss the experience. The trainer might, during the three person discussions, gather the individual scores for personal and organizational readiness and post them as part of the final discussion.

4. Convene a plenary session to discuss the exercise and to summarize the small-group discussions. For example, ask the group such questions as: What problems seem to be most common? Least common? Is the individual, or his/her organization, more ready to engage in problem solving? Given the results of the questionnaire and the small-group discussions, what does the group think the course should focus on to improve individual and/or organizational readiness?

EXERCISE

TOPIC: PERSONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTIVENESS

A CHECKLIST TO ASSESS PERSONAL AND ORGANIZATIONAL READINESS

The following checklist is designed to help you assess your personal, as well as your organization’s, readiness to make decisions, solve problems and bring about desirable planned changes. For each statement, circle the number you believe reflects your and your organization’s operational reality. If you believe the statement is not important, check the column on the far right.


Fully

Mostly

Partly

Slightly

Not at all

Not important

1. Top management expectations for the organization are clearly defined and communicated throughout the organization

5

4

3

2

1

2. I understand what my immediate supervisor expects from me on the job

5

4

3

2

1

3. The underlying values which guide and drive my organization and its performance are dear

5

4

3

2

1

4. If asked what my organization values most, in terms of its overall operation, I could respond immediately

5

4

3

2

1

5. The ground rules my organization uses to make decisions and solve problems are understood throughout the system

5

4

3

2

1

6. While I understand these ground rules I am willing to confront them and my supervisors when they are not working to foster decision-making and problem-solving in the organization

5

4

3

2

1

7. The roles and responsibilities of each unit in the organization are dearly defined and understood

5

4

3

2

1

8. I clearly understand what my role and responsibilities are within the organization

5

4

3

2

1

9. Organizational resources are adequate to get the job done

5

4

3

2

1

10. I have all the resources I need to perform my job responsibilities effectively

5

4

3

2

1

11. Timely and accurate information is readily available in the organization for making decisions and solving problems

5

4

3

2

1

12. I have access to the kinds of information and data I need to perform my responsibilities effectively

5

4

3

2

1

13. My organization has clearly established goals and objectives that guide the day-to -day operations and provide long-term direction

5

4

3

2

1

14. I understand the goals and objectives of my work unit and have a commitment to fulfilling them

5

4

3

2

1

15. It is common in my organization to consider various options before pursuing a course of action

5

4

3

2

1

16. I personally consider the consequences of my actions before I carry out a project or task

5

4

3

2

1

17. Programme and budget targets are set for the organization and, in most instances, met

5

4

3

2

1

18. If someone asked me to define the performance target of my work unit for the fiscal year, I could answer immediately

5

4

3

2

1

19. The organization has a system for maintaining and evaluating programme and financial performance

5

4

3

2

1

20. My work unit routinely assesses its performance and uses the information to make improvements

5

4

3

2

1

The sum of all the numbers you circled for the uneven-numbered statements (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) represents your assessment of your organization’s readiness. The total score of the even-numbered statements (2, 4, 6, etc.) is your assessment of your own readiness to make decisions and solve problems. The maximum score in each category is 50.

In either case, a score of 40 points or above indicates a healthy state of readiness. A total score of less than 20 in either category indicates serious deficiencies that should be addressed to achieve a state of organizational or personal readiness.

If you checked more than 5 of the 20 statements as not being important, this workshop will either prove to be a peak experience or a total waste of time.

Organizational readiness

Total score


Personal readiness

Total score


The “not important” factor

Total number checked