Introduction and Overview:
The Five Orientations Surveys are based on 25 years of research in organizations and were developed by Dr. Judi Neal and Dr. Linda Hoopes. These surveys are based on the realization that people have different worldviews, or orientations toward the world, and that these orientations have major implications for communications, planning, innovation, risk-taking, and openness to change. The Five Orientations Surveys have two forms– (1) The Individual Orientation Survey, and (2) The Organizational Orientation Survey. Both of these measure the Five Organizational Orientations: Edgewalkers, Flamekeepers, Hearthtenders, Placeholders, and Guardians. They are valid and reliable instruments which have been used in a number of different settings.
The Individual Orientations are not personality types, and a person’s orientation can vary depending on the context. One may view the world through a particular orientation at work and view the world through another orientation in one’s faith or spiritual community, and yet another in family life. It is useful to have an understanding of which of the five orientations is your natural orientation. This enables a better understanding of yourself, and of someone who may see the world in a very different way. Each of the orientations has strengths to offer an organization, and each of them also has a shadow side. The customized report details these strengths and shadow sides for each participant, providing guidance on developmental opportunities.
Individual Orientation Survey:
Understanding Your Relationship to Change
This form of the survey provides each employee with a customized report on the five Organizational Orientations from a personal perspective. An aggregated organizational report is also available.
The Five Individual Orientations:
Edgewalkers walk between worlds and have the ability to build bridges between different worlds. They have a strong innerlife and are also very grounded and effective in the everyday material world.
Flamekeepers keep the original vision and values of the organization alive.
Hearthtenders get the day-to-day work of the organization done and are focused on serving others.
Placeholders provide stability and predictability to the organization. They are the keepers of the boundaries and can keep an organization from going over the edge. They tend to resist change for the sake of change and are comfortable with routine.
Guardians look to the future and tend to see all the things that could potentially be a problem. They have a gift for analyzing and/or sensing what could go wrong before it happens. They are committed to protecting people and the organization from potential harm.
Benefits of the Individual Orientation Survey:
As a result of taking the Individual Orientation Survey and working with your customized report you will:
- Become familiar with your normal worldview and discover opportunities for seeing things in new ways.
- Increase your ability to understand and relate to others who may see things in a different way.
- Increase your creativity and innovation.
- Have a new understanding and approach to valuing diversity in the workplace.
- Assess how and where you best fit in the organization.
- Improve your relationships and your ability to collaborate.
This instrument is offered only through Certified Edgewalker Facilitators. The use of this instrument is greatly enhanced when it is used in your team. It helps the team to assess where they are as a team and to move towards a vision of where you want to be as a team.
Organizational Orientation Survey
The culture of an organization is critical to its success. The culture must support the organizational mission and vision, or the organization will be unable to reach its fullest potential. And the culture must be able to help the organization to thrive in the external environment in which it is embedded. For example, an organization in an environment that is very stable and predictable must have a culture that supports reliable systems, and concrete procedures. If the environment is very unpredictable and highly competitive, the organization needs a culture that supports flexibility and innovation.
The Organizational Orientation Survey measures the five major organizational orientations discovered in our research:
The Five Organizational Orientations:
1. The Edgewalker Organization: The Edgewalker Organization is a high-energy organization that seeks to be on the cutting edge. It thrives on the next new thing and may have a disregard for the past or for tradition. The organization is committed to high integrity and to making a positive difference in the world. There are systems in place to support the institutionalization of these values. It is a fun-loving, creative place to work, and rules are kept to a minimum. Risk-taking is encouraged and rewarded.
2. The Flamekeeper Organization: The Flamekeeper Organization is very committed to the founder’s vision and values. This kind of organization makes all major decisions based on its mission and purpose. A strong sense of stewardship permeates the culture, allowing the organization to carry into the future the best of the past, while also remaining adaptive and nimble. It is common to hear stories about the organizational history and the founder’s start-up vision, and these stories often arise to remind the organization about the direction it should head in the future. The values of the organization are clearly stated, and employees are able to articulate them clearly and to give examples of when actions have been in alignment with these values.
3. The Hearthtender Organization: The Hearthtender Organization is an organization that focuses on getting the day-to-day work done in an efficient way. There is a strong sense of service to customers and to each other, and a concern for peoples’ feelings. The organization tends to focus on what needs to happen in the present, and either doesn’t have time to look toward the future, or does not have a natural propensity for planning for the future. In general, people are detail oriented, and are comfortable with systems that make the work flow smoothly. The organization is likely to resist change that will be disruptive to the daily work.
4. The Placeholder Organization: The Placeholder Organization is an organization that is focused on the past, and holds a shared perception that the past was better than the current state of things. This type of organization tends to resist change, most likely because some previously implemented changes made things worse instead of better. People may be overloaded with too many changes and not able to handle any more at this time. If the organization is in a very stable environment, a Placeholder Orientation can help the organization to preserve those things that made it successful.
5. The Guardian Organization: The Guardian Organization is an organization with a protective mentality. This mentality may be a result of offering products or services that prevent problems from happening, or that protect people when the problems do occur. This type of organization often uses fear of something negative happening as a motivator. A Guardian Organization is quite cautious in its decision-making and tends to be very risk-averse.
- We meet with your top team to assess which parts of the organization to survey, and whether to do sampling or to seek 100% involvement.
- You communicate with employees about the survey and it’s purpose, and promise to share aggregated results.
- We administer the survey online, assuring confidentiality.
- We create the report(s) agreed upon. You will be provided a graphic view of the distribution of the five orientations by department, level of the organization, and other breakdowns as determined in the initial meeting. The report also provides detailed information on gaps between individual and organizational orientations.
- The top team meets with the Certified Edgewalker Consultant to understand and interpret the results. This information is used to assess the culture and subcultures in order to determine if changes are needed. The team will discuss organizational/environment fit and cultural alignment with organizational mission and vision.
- The Certified Edgewalker Consultant conducts feedback sessions throughout the organization and works with top leadership to develop a change integration process, if needed.
Benefits of the Organizational Orientation Survey:
As a result of following this process, the organization will experience:
- Higher energy focused on mission and purpose
- Greater employee engagement
- Increased resilience to change
- Enhanced culture of innovation
- Realignment between the culture and the environment
- Higher organizational performance, particularly in the areas of customer service and product/service innovation.
This survey is offered through the Organizational Orientation Workshop and is also available as a part of our Organizational Assessment services. Please contact us to discuss your particular needs.