TMS RESEARCH – PERSPECTIVES: Who Sees More Opportunities? Part 2

Tom GibbonsOrganization Development, ResearchLeave a Comment

In the last post we looked at the TMS Research focused on the QO2 Profile, specifically at organizational level and who sees things more as opportunities or obstacles. The graphics below illustrates that higher in the organizational hierarchy risk and change are seen more as opportunities than lower in the hierarchy.

The question was asked why this might be so?

From my perspective this trend makes sense and is likely a good thing. Senior roles in an organization have more power to affect change and direction than do roles that are less senior. To me it makes sense then that senior roles would see risk and change more as opportunities since people in those roles would think, legitimately so, that they had more control and influence over that risk and change. That they could more effectively shape things the way they wanted things to ‘be’.

So what might be happening at lower levels in the hierarchy? My guess is that the lower QO2 score is an accurate reflection of what often happens in change in organizations; lower levels are affected more negatively by the change than higher levels. It is not much of a stretch to see why lower levels are seeing things like change more as an obstacle given this! Especially when levels of control are minimal.

It would be much simpler if the lower QO2 score was a result of a lower confidence in senior management to effectively manage risk and change. Then it would be a simple matter of senior management exhibiting some level of competence! But the consistent struggles we see as organizations navigate risk and change seem to say things are much more complex than competence. Complexity that stems from the very subjective issues of control, influence, value, personal perspectives on what is important and on and on.

This data is likely saying that organizations need to talk more about these complex things in the midst of risk and change, not necessarily with the intent of ‘solving’ them, but making them more visible, acceptable and real.

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