Of late, I am learning that Org Diagnostics is hip. It’s in vogue. It’s the thing to do.

If you to improve something at work, you first need to do an ‘Org Diagnostics’. Simply put, you need to use a set of sophisticated tools, questionnaires, focus groups, and other investigative techniques, to get to the root of the problem.

Could that be bad? Hell, no!

It’s the right thing to do!

But, if it is the right thing to do, why am I writing about it? I am not really known to write about good and right things 😉

Let us see instances where you’d rather not Org Diagnostics (OD, hereafter) –


1.       Re-affirming the obvious, sickening, reality – Picture Shahrukh Khan sending out a survey asking ‘Do I really neigh, hnnnnhnnhnnhnnn, before I begin my dialogues? – Please answer on a 5-point scale from ‘Strongly Agree…………………Strongly Disagree’.


2.       Asking the ‘why’ of the obvious – Picture the friendly news reporter on ‘AajTak’ interviewing a man whose house was burned down and his wife ran away with the neighbour, ‘Sir, we can see you are crying. Will you tell our viewers why you are crying?’


3.       Trying to quantify emotions – Picture the TV host asking the contestant who has lost, ‘You must have put all your hopes on this round? Are you really feeling shattered now? How badly?’


4.       Just to show that you did a scientific job of it – People love charts and graphs and neat presentations. With numbers. You run the risk of being labelled a touchy-feely nincompoop.


Don’t get me wrong, all ye learned folks! I am not against OD – In fact, I make a living on it. All I am saying is that sometimes over-investigating stuff that is apparent may lead to more damage that good. Watch out for these undercurrents:-

‘Why are they asking the same questions over and over again?’

‘New person, same questions, same probes. No results!’

 To do a good job of OD, here are some golden rules:-

1.       Get an expert to design your OD. A set of questions is not diagnostics. It is a thoughtfully planned exercise, which takes cognizance of sentiment, expectations, emotional and intellectual fibre of the respondents. Not to mention, a cost vs benefit analysis.


2.       Plan it at the top – Interventions in small groups are more likely to reach a dead-end since design and process changes can only be done at a more org-wide and systemic level.



3.       Figure out what kind of expectations your questions can rake up and whether you have the powers or intentions of meeting them.


4.       Don’t dig at the wounds – acknowledge them, try to get suggestions out.



5.       Give them closure on suggestions that cannot be implemented. Most diagnostic teams do not get back to the respondents telling them why things they recommended were not deployed. And, then, the added complication of handling the consequent discontent. Even post mortem doctors sew back the corpse after they are done, so we need to be more sensitive to living folks.

Ok, this got too serious. Let’s go back to SRK. Can someone design a Diagnostics exercise to help him improve his dialogue delivery? Rush in your entries  to me – the best one gets a prize – tickets for two for Rock On.

Did someone say that does not star SRK! K-k-k-k’com, guys, ticket to an SRK movie will be more like a penalty, not a prize….

Ok – fans, please forgive me!