Putting the OLA to effective use in your organization

There are multiple ways to use the OLA to learn about your organization. The flexibility of the instrument allows you to determine, ahead of time, what view of the organization you are seeking. Do you need to look at the total organization or at sub-groups within the organization (or both)? With the OLA you can pursue multiple views utilizing the same instrument.

Use #1: determine how the entire organization views the organization and its leadership

Have the OLA completed by the entire organization and its leadership.  Invite everyone in the organization to respond to hear everyone’s voice and to have confidence in the final report as expressing the views of all of your workers, managers and top leaders.  This is effective for smaller organizations, but most organizations will benefit from adding select sub-group reports in addition to your total organization report.

Use #2: Add sub-group reports to your total organization report

Prior to  conducting your total organization assessment, identify sub-groups (departments, divisions, work units, teams, locations) to see how these group’s may view the organization and its leadership differently.  You will receive a complete 26-page OLA report for each subgroup along with your total organization report.  Often subgroups differ in their view and experience of the organization and by segmenting out their data you will be able to see these differences clearly.  We are also able to roll-up select sub-groups into a custom report as needed.

Use #3: Focus your OLA assessment on a single sub-group

You may chose to focus the OLA assessment on a single sub-group so that the respondents are instructed to focus their assessment just on that sub-group and its leadership.  This provides a view that is unique to that sub-group and allows you to consider them alone.  This will allow for more targeted interventions to take place toward specific parts of the overall organization and with specific leaders.

Use #4: Retest-to show desired changes in the organizational culture over time

After conducting your initial OLA assessment and implementing key improvement plans, conduct a post-assessment using the OLA (and the same sub-groups) to determine if new interventions (training, organizational improvement plans, etc.) are needed and to celebrate improvements toward greater organizational health.  Re-tests are normally conducted 8-12 months after the initial OLA assessment.

In addition to these uses, the OLA provides your organization with these benefits:

  • Going through the OLA process will help your organization identify the kind of values and culture it wants to promote and then take specific steps to create positive organizational change
  • A new language is created to allow people within the organization to talk about their culture (and servant leadership) in specific terms
  • The process of becoming a healthier organization becomes an organization-wide effort involving all people in the learning and change process
  • You are giving everyone a voice to speak as to how they are experiencing the organization.  You are using this to build leaders and create an authentic workplace
  • The OLA can be used as a learning tool to guide specific training programs