Organizational Courage Assessment

At the bottom of this page, you can order the Organizational Courage Assessment directly from amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com. Click here to see this assessment's Sample Results and Interpretive Materials. Just below is some background information about managing fear and our unique assessment tool.

NOTE: We use the Organizational Courage Assessment, along with the Organizational Influence Survey, in our recorded online course: Quantum Transformation.

HOW COURAGEOUS IS YOUR ORGANIZATION?

For organizations to succeed in the short term, members must do what is required: perform their jobs, follow the standard operating procedures, and respect the decisions of their managers. But to succeed in the long term, it may be necessary for members to challenge traditional practices, confront their managers and co-workers, and bypass official policies and procedures—even though members may receive negative consequences (such as ridicule, criticism, reprimands, negative performance reviews, or even the loss of their job) for not following the organization's accepted ways of doing things.

Organizational Courage Profile

The Courage Assessment reveals twenty possible acts of courage that go beyond what is safe and customary. You are asked to respond to these twenty acts in two different ways. First, you are asked to indicate how often you have observed these acts in your organization—or if any of these acts are not necessary because the members have already been doing what is needed for the long-term success of your organization. Second, for these same possible acts of courage, you are asked to indicate how afraid people would be of receiving negative consequences if they performed these acts in your organization.

The Courage Assessment defines four types of organizations with respect to (1) the relative frequency of observing potential acts of courage and (2) the relative fear in performing these acts of courage:

Four Types of Organizations

  1. Courageous Organizations: If you have observed frequent acts of courage in your organization and yet these acts were performed even though there was considerable fear of receiving negative consequences for not following the organization's accepted ways of doing things, your organization is courageous. Thus, the possible acts of courage are indeed actual acts of courage, because they were performed despite the fear: the defining quality of courage.
  2. Quantum Organizations: If you have observed frequent acts of courage while there is little fear of receiving negative consequences for performing these acts, then your organization is defined as quantum. The necessary acts were performed, but members did not have to act with fear: they were supported! Better yet, many acts of courage aren't even necessary because being quantum means that the organization already has a healthy/supportive culture.
  3. Fearful Organizations: If you have observed few acts of courage, and yet there is considerable fear present, then your organization is fearful. It is fear that is keeping members from doing what needs to be done for the long-term success of their organization and their own psychological well-being. Unless this fear is removed, members may continue doing what is required by the organization for short-term survival, but long-term success is at risk.
  4. Bureaucratic Organizations: If you have observed few acts of courage and do not experience the fear of receiving negative consequences, your organization is bureaucratic. Apparently, members have resigned themselves to doing only what is officially and clearly outlined in their jobs; members are doing what is expected. Fear is not felt when people have given up trying to improve "the system." Sadly, no one is fighting for the organization's future.

The Courage Assessment takes only twenty minutes on average to complete and another fifteen minutes or so to graph the Courage Profile of a work group of five to fifteen members. (Additional pages in the instrument booklet are provided for calculating and graphing Courage Profiles for whole departments and the entire organization.) Following completion of the graph, the members of the work group can begin discussing the many implications of having been assessed as one of four types of organizations.

Options for Transformation

Two action recommendations typically derive from the results and the group discussion: First, an organization that is assessed as bureaucratic can become a quantum organization—applying the available programs and processes of organizational transformation. Thereby, members will be empowered to act on their internalized sense of what is in the best interests of the organization, both in the short term and the long term. These members can also be empowered to reinvent the organization's systems, processes, and practices in order to be more in sync with today's dynamic, challenging world.

If an organizational transformation is just not feasible, then the members in either a bureaucratic or fearful organization will have to become more courageous: to do what is needed for long-term success despite the risks of receiving negative consequences for challenging traditional practices, confronting their managers and co-workers, and ignoring official policies and procedures. Without performing the necessary acts of courage in a fearful organization (or in a bureaucratic organization), and thus without a personal transformation of the members, the danger arises of people living with fear or, worse yet, giving up all hope for the future.

 

Courage AssessmentClick Here to Order the Organizational Courage Assessment (28 Pages) on amazon.com or... barnesandnoble.com