The worst thing about recent business scandals is their lingering aftereffect: How can you move forward when you don’t know who you can depend on? In Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity (Jossey-Bass), Karl E. Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe argue that high-reliability organizations exhibit “mindfulness.” Basically, mindfulness indicates a combination of high alertness, flexibility, and adaptability. Take this quiz to rate your company’s mindfulness. Give yourself the following number of points for each of the corresponding statements: 1 point for “Not at all,” 2 points for “To some extent,” and 3 points for “A great deal.”
1. There is an organizationwide sense of susceptibility to the unexpected.
2. Everyone feels accountable for reliability.
3. Leaders pay as much attention to managing unexpected events as they do to achieving formal organizational goals.
4. People at all levels of our organization value quality.
5. We have spent time identifying how our activities could potentially harm our organization, employees, customers, other interested parties, and the environment at large.
6. We pay attention to when and why our employees, customers, or other interested parties might feel peeved at or disenfranchised by the organization.
7. There is agreement among the firm’s members on what shouldn’t go wrong.
8. There is agreement among the firm’s members on what could go wrong.
A total score higher than 16 indicates an exemplarily mindful infrastructure in your firm. A score lower than 10 suggests a need for immediate improvement.