Stop Self-Diagnosing Organizational Dysfunction

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Recently, I felt a twinge of pain on the inside of my ankle after a short jog. I felt around my foot and calf when I got home and found some tender areas, so I took to the Internet to diagnose my problem. Sprain? Tendonitis? Cancer? It could be anything! I was overwhelmed. That’s when I stopped trying to be an orthopedic surgeon and opted to make an appointment with one instead. Similarly, many leaders know when something isn’t quite right within their organization, but aren’t sure what to treat, investigate, or prioritize. That’s why self-diagnosing organizational dysfunction is a waste of time, energy, and resources.

Prescription Before Diagnosis is Malpractice

Doctors don’t (or shouldn’t) prescribe treatment to their patients until they have made a diagnosis. And how leaders go about “fixing” their organizations should be the same. While lives may not be on the line, your people could very well walk out the door if you get it wrong. So why risk it?

ADVISA doesn’t have a “one size fits all” approach. Our clients come to us for different reasons and we take the time to fully understand what’s going on in their world before we deliver any solution. It’s what makes us different and our clients successful in the long run.

We guide our clients through a 3-step process that helps them think strategically and take action to drive individual, team, and organizational change.


Similar to a doctor’s visit, we need to know what’s going on within an organization before we make any recommendations. We collect data to help leaders diagnose what’s working and what’s not—on the people side of the business. Then, we consult with the executive team to define the values and behaviors necessary to attract and retain the talent needed to grow.

Step Two: DESIGN

Once we’ve identified an organization’s current and desired state with executive agreement, our team mobilizes for the second step of our process. In the Design stage, we begin with the end in mind. We design a relevant solution that activates the exact values and behaviors defined for success.

What makes this part of the process so interesting is that no two clients are the same. What works for one may not work for another, and we have the data to know that in advance. It helps us develop better solutions and keep clients on track to reach their goal(s).

Step Three: DEPLOY

We deploy our facilitators, consultants, and coaches to drive meaningful change for organizations. We do this by delivering transformative learning experiences and implementing systems and tools that drive measurable impact over time.

It’s that last part that’s really crucial: over time. No one went to a leadership retreat and came back a phenomenal leader. It takes time to put into practice what we learn. At ADVISA, we believe if you haven’t changed, you haven’t learned. So it’s imperative we continue to reinforce the client’s desired values and behaviors while measuring confidence and competence over time.

Admitting something’s not working, isn’t easy. And even when leaders know a process, project, person, or group isn’t making progress or achieving business results, it’s hard to admit you need help or know where exactly that help should be focused. ADVISA can help. Stop self-diagnosing organizational dysfunction. Reach out today.


To read more from Lauren Littlefield, read her previous article “Surviving a Toxic Work Environment Should Never Be Your Goal”.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to read “Prevent Disengagement and Churn by Prehabbing Top Talent” by Leadership Consultant Brad Smith.