The other night, during BCODN's Remarkable Holiday Gathering, I had the opportunity to engage in a brief conversation with Paul and Oxana about their recent encounter with Marvin Weisbord, the person behind the time-tested and enduring framework on organizational diagnosis: the Weisbord Six-Box Model.
Before the more recent "what works well" approaches to organization diagnosis, e.g., Appreciative Inquiry, Open Space, the preferred mode was to look at what is not working well. In my book, some of the problem solving diagnostic tools would be Weisbord's Six-Box Model, Edgar Schein's Stream Analysis, Kurt Lewin's Force-Field Analysis, the generic Root Cause Analysis (RCA), Gelinas-James' Elements of Organizations, Herman's Iceberg Model, Peter & Waterman's Seven-S Model and the Burke-Litwin Model of Organizational Performance & Change. The data generated by any of these tools were used to design the organization change program.
Weisbord's choice of six elements to observe provide for starting points when making an organization diagnosis. The model is heavy on the people-relationship side. Because of this, I find the model very convenient at a micro-level, such as diagnosing team life as a prep for designing a teambuilding program. For example, in the Purposes sector, asking the question, "what 'business' are we in" and getting differing responses from team members can become one of the competing explanations for the observable quantified data of wastage: above-budget overtime, repeat-work, product returns, large supplies usage, etc. Assume that after going through the other five elements, the data on Purposes loom big, then a teambuilding intervention may be more on generating a common team vision. On some occasions, the data may be pointing at a leadership problem. That would indicate a rephrased acronym TNA (training needs analysis) to TNA (teambuilding not applicable).