by Chris Paquette
The survey posed nineteen questions in the form of opposing statements, and respondents were required to select a point on a seven-point scale to indicate which opposing statement was most accurate and to what degree. The graphic below illustrates a typical question.
Here are the questions from the survey (framed only in the positive) and the categories they were loosely organized under.
Experimentation and Learning
Openness and Flexibility
Decentralization, Autonomy and Trust
Purpose and Meaning
Diversity and Dissent
Though dozens of institutions were represented in the data, only eight had 30 or more responses. The table below illustrates the distribution of positive and negative responses across these eight schools, sorted from high to low by the average rating at each school for all questions.
There are dramatic differences in how individual schools are perceived by the people who responded to the survey. For the school that fared best, 20% of their ratings were negative and 69% were positive. For the school that fared worst, 47% were negative and 33% were positive.
So why were there differences? Was there something particular the top four schools did differently that might explain their more favorable ratings?
All of the four top-rated schools received higher ratings than all of the other four schools for five items:
There were notable commonalities among all schools. For example, “Encourages collaboration at all levels; sees silos as barriers to success” was among the top five ratings for every school and “Deals decisively with incompetence or bad behavior” was among the five lowest.
The survey asked respondents to focus on attributes of their organizations, but what about the attributes of the individuals who responded? What is their role in tending to their own adaptability and how they affect the adaptability of the organization? During the 2015 MOR Leaders Conference, we engaged participants in completing a self-assessment that was derived from the pre-conference survey and invited them to reflect on that question.
The survey results suggest that adaptability and intent go hand in hand. The most successful organizations and individuals are not waiting to see what changes may come, they have a vision for excellence, they have a plan, and they are making change happen.