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A Step-by-Step Guide to Effective Consulting
Purpose of the Book
• To help formalize and professionalize the
organization consultation role, whether for
organizational assessment or change efforts
• To assist managers who want to sharpen their
assessment skills in order to understand their own
• An Organization as a whole is a system of interrelated
subsystems. It is also a component of larger systems – an
industry, a community, an economy
• Organizations like other living organisms is an “open”
system. It must maintain a equilibrium:
a) among its internal subsystems
b) between itself as a system and other systems, and
c) between itself and the larger systems of which it is a part
Organization analyses must therefore lend themselves to understanding
the organization is an active, unique, living entity
Attributes of a Comprehensive Organization
Should be a / an:
1. ordered, systematic gathering of information
2. evaluation of the relationship of the organization with other systems
with which it interacts
3. Undertaking that establishes what the organization stands for – i.e.
4. Movement from fact to inference to interpretation. Basic data are
the facts, inferences are the extrapolations drawn from facts, and
interpretations are the meanings formulated from those inferences.
5. Device for training managers and executives to better understand
their organization and to continuously assess their managerial
efforts through the use of specialized measures
Broad Overview of Org Assessment Phases
Gathering Information –
Genetic & Factual Data
To provide a cross-
sectional view of the
organization at a given
point of time against the
context of its
environments as well as
To describe the
organization in detail
based on data gathered
To understand the “why”
of the problems
then become the basis
for the organization to
debate its options and
1. FACTS 2. INFERENCES 3. INTERPRETATIONS
The basic question for every consultant regardless of the reason for a consultation
request is, Where is the pain?
Phase 1: FACTS
1. Organization Name
3. Type of
5. Size (financial
condition, # of
6. First Overall
I. Genetic Facts
How The Organization Got To Be the Way It Is
II. Descriptive Data & Analysis
Description and Analysis of the
Organization as a Whole
1. Events leading to the
initiation of the
2. Problem of the
organization as stated by
key figures (long-range,
3. Background of the
major crises experienced,
1. Formal Organizational
2. Plant and Equipment /
3. Financial Structure
4. Human Capital (# of
5. Structure for managing
6. Policies and Procedures
B. Process Data
1. Communication Systems
3. Current and Previous
Studies in, and Reports
to, the organization
Phase 2: INFERENCES
A. Current Organizational
1. Organizational perceptions (leadership, direction,
dominant foci of interest, assessment of the
discrepancy between reality and perceived reality)
2. Organizational knowledge (methods of obtaining
new knowledge, degree of receptivity to new
knowledge, use of knowledge & dissemination)
3. Organizational language (symbols, slogans,
themes, language of policies, customs)
4. Emotional atmosphere of the organization
(prevailing mood, intra-organizational variability)
5. Organizational action (energy level, qualities of
action – i.e. planning, timing, degree of flexibility &
III. Inferences drawn from Analytic Data
B. Attitudes and
1. Relationships with Others (Assessment of
the range, depth and constancy with all
stakeholders - clients, competition,
employees, shareholders, legislative bodies,
2. Relations with things and ideas
(quality and intensity of relations to plant,
equipment, raw material or supplies,
product, services. Handling authority, power
3. Intra-organizational relationships (key
people in organization, how functional
Phase 3: INTERPRETATIONS
1. Appraisal of the effect of the environment
on the organization (historical, current and
1. Appraisal of the organization and overall
B. Summary and
1. Present Status
2. Explanatory Formulation (Genetic,
3. Prognostic Conclusions
IV. Analyses and Conclusions: Interpretations from Inferences
The Assessment Procedure
1. Leadership interviews that is representative of those
2. All Employees to be questioned by printed form (Survey)
3. Sample of employees to participate in focus groups
4. Observations of people at work
5. An examination of already available records and relevant
6. Interviews with key stakeholders outside the organization
- i.e. suppliers, former employees, external staff of the
parent (if applicable), etc.
Sample Questions – Leadership Interviews
I B Tell me about the organization. How did it get to be the way it is?
II A What do you do here?
If you were going to hire someone for your job, what kind of person would you hire?
With respect to helping a person along, how does (the organization) get people started? What
happened to you when you started? How much and what kind of training do people get?
How do you find out how you are doing?
What happens when problems come up? (Give me some examples)
What are the main rules here that everyone has to follow?
III A What sort of place is this to do your job? Why?
How does the organization keep up with what’s going on elsewhere? What kinds of things is it
most interested in keeping up with? Does the organization make use of the information available?
What ways are there to find out what’s going on around here?
III B Tell me about the people here. How are they to work with?
What does the organization say it stands for?
How does it get its message across?
What do outsiders think of your organization? Why? (please specify)
What future do you see for this organization? Why?
The Five-Step Agenda of the Consultant’s
1. What did the consultant do?
2. What did he/she find?
3. What did he/she learn?
4. How does he/she understand what was learned?
5. What does he/she recommend doing about it?