Jeffrey Saltzman's Blog

Enhancing Organizational Performance

Seatbelts on Motorcycles (and other survey questions)

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We were heading out to dinner on a tree-lined country road that runs by a reservoir. One lane in each direction, double yellow line down the middle. All of a sudden a motorcycle passed me by at likely twice the speed limit. I was left wondering why seatbelts aren’t required on motorcycles. At least after the motorcycle crashes you would know where to find the body. It would still be attached to the motorcycle rather than being flung somewhere into the woods.

Seatbelts are a good thing. They have saved countless lives when used properly in cars. If you however, assume that what works well in cars should be applied to all types of vehicles on our roadways you will likely be disappointed with the track record of seatbelts on saving the lives of motorcycle riders. They would simply not have the same beneficial effect.

The same is true when it comes to employee survey design. There are all sorts of various types of organizations out there, following all different type of differentiating strategies. So if all those organizations are trying to differentiate themselves, trying their best to distinguish themselves from their competition, why would so many people’s knee jerk reaction be to use the same survey questions that every other organization is using? To do exactly the opposite in terms of survey design what the organization’s goals are in terms of performance?

If we mindlessly apply that logic to other aspects of our lives, the next thing you know when you go to the doctor complaining of chest pains, you will be on the receiving end of a proctology exam. After all proctology exams are pretty good at detecting colon cancer, so they must also work for chest pains. “Doctor, doctor, the pain is in my chest. What are you doing?” “Well I had this tool handy, so I thought I would use it”.

Employee surveys should not be tools in search of problems. But rather they should be tailored to the specific needs of each organization and their unique strategy.       

© 2014 by Jeffrey M. Saltzman. All rights reserved.

Visit OV: www.orgvitality.com

Written by Jeffrey M. Saltzman

August 26, 2014 at 9:39 pm

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