The Oxford English Dictionary defines diagnosis as the "identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms." In the world of organizational change it may not be an illness as such, but rather a suboptimal state of some kind or even a current state that is quite functional in some ways but not yet at the level that its leaders desire. In either case, a diagnosis identifies the nature of the state in which the system finds itself and it does this by:
These are three interconnected processes, not separate tasks and there is much overlap among them. At is simplest, the process of gathering information leads one to interpret and in the process, synthesize and evaluate. This produces a diagnosis. In all instances, some type of information gathering will be involved. It may be very little or highly focused, but it needs to occur as a starting point.
To be effective, a good diagnosis process should account for the current state of affairs, predict what is likely to happen if nothing changes, be helpful in generating or critiquing a set of outcomes, and point us in the direction of actions that might deliver the desired outcomes.
The level and depth of a diagnosis process is related to the complexity of the issues/system in question. This can go from a very straightforward situation that requires little information gathering and interpretation, to a very complex situation that requires extensive information gathering, interpretation through dialogue that looks at the whole of the system and a final understanding of the underlying patterns of the system. One simple way to conceptualize this is to evaluate an issue against the following continua:
The more an issue fits along the left side of these continua the more likely it is straightforward. If the issue fits close to the right side of these continua then it is far more likely that the practitioner (leader, leadership team, consultant) needs to undertake a complext inquiry, which often involves looking at the whole system. We have produced a wonderful video explanation of these continua using a story of one of Tim Dalmau's clients.
In our framework the diagnosis is a statement about the underlying causes that drive all the external structures, processes and practices in a team, organization or system. If you want to learn much, much more about the framework along with practical processes and tools for organizational diagnosis, check out our new e-Book below.
2015 New Release e-Book by Steve Zuieback and Tim Dalmau. This is a wonderful and practical book that covers the theory and specific practices for diagnosing dynamics that commonly occur inside organizations and teams. The book is loaded with resources and links.
May 23rd, 2019 - June 11, 2020 (Closed to Public)
This is a special leadership development series for the Ukiah Unified School District Leadership Team. Each session will focused on a specific model with associated tools and processes.
July 30 - July 31, 2019; October 23-24, 2019 (Closed to Public)
This is a special professioinal development series the California Education Partners team. Each session will focused on a specific model with associated tools and processes.
September 4 - September 13, 2019 (closed to public)
This is an 5-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino City Unified School District. The intended audience is for Managers, Principals and Professional Development Staff.
6 Part Leadership Team Development Program - October 14, 2019- January 14, 2020 ( Open to the Public)
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools.
October 17th - December 13th, 2019 (Closed to the Public)
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino City Unified School District. This program is for school leadership teams - Working on the Work.
January 16 - 17, 2020 (Open to the Public)
This is a 2-day Master Class for Leaders and Consultants. The class is focused on how to diagnose complex organizational issues and how to design effective strategies and interventions based on the diagnosis. No prerequisites are required.
February 13 - April 10, 2020 (Closed to the Public)
6-day Leadership Development and Facilitation Skills training program sponsored by San Bernardino City Unified School District.
Managing Groups - Fast Track by Michael Grinder
March 2016: Diagnosis- From Theory to Practice
How Leaders Can Facilitate and Participate in Their Team Conversations
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Note: Zuieback, Zuiebock, Zuiebeck, Zweiback, Zweiback, etc. are potential misspellings of Steve's name.