Conduct a Written Survey

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A written survey may be used as an alternative to informal discussions. Unlike

informal discussions, however, a written survey is a high-profile effort. Many

people will probably see it. For that reason, be sure to follow the organization’s

protocol for authorizing a written survey. That may mean discussing it,

prior to distribution, with the CEO, the vice president of human resources, or

others they suggest. Ask for their approval to conduct the survey—and solicit

their input for questions of interest to them. In some organizations they may

also wish to attach their own cover letters to the survey, which is desirable

because it demonstrates their awareness and support—and may even increase

the response rate.

Use the survey appearing in Exhibit 5-4 as a starting point, if you wish. It

may save you time in developing your own survey, tailor-made to your organization’s

needs.

Once the survey has been completed, feed the results back to the decisionmakers.

In that way they can read for themselves what their peers have to say

about the organization’s current approach to SP&M. That can help them focus

on specific problems to be solved and on achieving a consensus for action

among themselves. However, conducting surveys is not without risk. They

may, for instance, bring to the surface influential opposition to a systematic

SP&M program. That will make it more difficult to make the case for that approach

in the future.