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The Dolphin Index is the ideal tool for assessing your climate and so for understanding the levers to pull so as to make the enterprise more dynamic, innovative and successful.

Nick Gurney, Former CEO Bristol City Council

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THE METHOD

We can provide you with your own dedicated version of the Dolphin Index. You ask a representative sample of your people to complete the simple 68 question questionnaire on line. The questionnaire takes about 10 minutes to complete. Each person gets immediate feedback on how their personal view of the climate compares with the national norm.

Meanwhile we collect everyone’s responses, analyse the data and provide you with feedback about your overall scores on the 13 dimensions of the Dolphin Index. We compare your scores with the national average.

We can also compare various parts of the organization with other parts. We may also be able to compare your overall scores with others in your sector.

We can also provide comprehensive recommendations as to how you can improve your performance.

The 13 dimensions:

COMMITMENT

This dimension refers to the extent to which employees are committed to organizational goals and operations. This covers the amount of emotional involvement that members of the organization or team feel to the goals of the organization (or team/division). This dimension also refers to the extent to which the work is perceived as stimulating and engaging.

Low commitment High Commitment
An organization displaying low levels of commitment will be characterised by individuals exhibiting low levels of energy into their jobs. There will be a lack of feeling of purpose and meaning in individuals’ jobs. There may be feelings of alienation, where individuals feel detached or alienated from the organizational goals or a feeling of indifference towards their jobs and the purpose of the organization. The common sentiment towards the organization will be apathy, shown by a lack of interest in individuals’ jobs and the organization as a whole. An organization displaying high levels of commitment will be one characterised where individuals are percieving their jobs and the goals of the organization as meaningful and therefore invest energy into the organization. This should also be characterised by organizations where individuals feel that most individuals are committed to, both professionally and to a certain extent emotionally, the goals and objectives of the organization.

FREEDOM

This dimension refers to the extent to which employees have opportunities to make their own decisions, seek information, and show initiative. The extent that the there is freedom from tight supervision within the organization. It focuses on the independence that individuals have in their jobs.

Low Freedom High Freedom
Organizations which demonstrate low levels of freedom are those in which people are passive and rule-bound. Individuals are unwilling to challenge boundaries and are anxious to stay inside established boundaries and ways of doing things. Low levels of freedom are also characterised by high or excessive levels of bureacracy over the ways in which activities are undertaken. Organizations which demonstrate high levels of freedom are ones in which individuals discuss the ways in which they choose to perform their tasks and jobs. Individuals feel empowered to make decisions. Problems are discussed, plans decided upon and actions implemented without heavy beureacracy or control.

IDEA-SUPPORT

This dimension refers to the extent to which employees are encouraged to put forward ideas and suggesting improvements. This also focuses on initiative and around the feeling of encouragement and support from the organization regarding the generation of ideas.

Low Idea-Support High Idea-Support
In organizations that are characterised by low levels of idea-support suggestions and initiatives are responded to with counter-argument and dismissal. The obstacles or reasons behind why ideas won’t work is the most common response, consequently fewer ideas are generated or individuals do not feel motivated to generate ideas. Fault finding with ideas and a lack of support mechanisms to take ideas forward is common. Climates that have high levels of idea-support encourage the generation of new ideas. Moreover, ideas and suggestions are received in a supportive and attentive way by all others within the organization. High idea-support is characterised by climates where colleagues listen and encourage new initiatives and ideas. There are also support mechanisms in place for trying out new ideas. Overall the atmosphere is positive and constructive.

RISK TAKING

This dimension refers to the extent to which new ideas may be implemented and where people are prepared to take risks. Uncertainty is tolerated and decisions are taken quickly regarding actions.

Low Risk Taking High Risk Taking
Climates that demonstrate low levels of risk taking are characterised by high levels of caution and hesitation. Individuals in these organizations feel that the organsation encourages individuals to remain on the ‘safe side’ and take time to consider the consequences before actions are taken. Organizations with low risk taking may have many systems in place for detailed investigation and discussion before actions are taken. Committees and working parties may be set up before decisions are made. Climates characterised by high levels of risk taking are those in which individuals feel that initiatives can be tested and tried out, before detailed investigation and analysis. Organizations with high levels of risk taking are willing to experiment with new ideas and plans. Decisions regarding trying out new ways of doing things are prompt.

IDEA TIME

This dimension refers to the extent to which employees have the time to generate and consider new ideas. This dimension focuses on the time allowed and encouraged in an organization regarding the generation of new ideas.

Low Idea Time High Idea Time
Organizations with low levels of idea time are characterised by systems that account for every minute in terms of actions of employees. Pressure is put upon members of these organizations to account for their time and thinking that falls outside of these planned routes of action is either discouraged or unavailable. Organizations characterised by climates with high levels of idea time are those in which individuals are encouraged to spend time generating ideas. Possibilities exist within these organizations to debate and test new suggestions which have not been planned for in the task assignment. Organizations with high levels of idea time allow for individuals to use their time to discuss possibilities.

DYNAMISM

This dimension refers to the extent to which the atmosphere is dynamic, lively and exciting. Dynamic environments are characterised by high levels of positive change.

Low Dynamism High Dynamism
Organizations which demonstrate low levels of dynamism are those which have few surprises in the ways in which things are done in the organization. There are rarely new projects or plans. These environments are not seen as exciting or lively, and can be characterised as things carrying on as 'usual'. Climates in organizations which have high levels of dynamism are characterised by new things happening frequently, including new ways of approaching issues or dealing with issues. Issues are often considered in different ways and new approaches to tasks are actively encouraged. These organizations are also characterised by high levels of energy and even turbulence. Individuals may describe these organizations as on 'full speed'.

PLAYFULNESS

This dimension refers to the extent to which people laugh and joke with one another. Moreover, it refers to the extent and ease to which humour is used and displayed in the organization.

Low Playfulness High Playfulness
Organizational climates that display low levels of playfulness are those which display a feeling of gravity or seriousness. Environments low on this dimension are those which are often seen as gloomy or somber. In these environments jokes and humour are often perceived as inappropriate. Organizations that display climates with high levels of playfulness and humour are those where there is a relaxed atmosphere, which is characterised by laughing and jokes. The climate encourages playfulness and humour to be used in different arenas in these organizations and individuals find the environment fun and enjoyable.

IDEA-PROLIFERATION

This dimension refers to the extent to which people are perceived as having creative ideas and varied perspectives towards their work. This also refers to the level of debates encouraged in the organization.

Low Idea Proliferation High Idea Proliferation
Climates that demonstrate low levels of idea proliferation are those in which there is a lack of variety or ideas. These climates have narrow and precise perspectives regarding the ways of doing things and the function of the organization. There are few alternative perspectives voiced or demonstrated and a lack of debates and constructive discussions. In organizations low on idea proliferation, people may unquestioningly follow existing patterns of work. Organizations characterised by high levels of idea proliferation are those in which people perceive people within the organization as frequently generating creative ideas regarding new ways of working or new products. These types of climates demonstrate many different approaches to work and tasks, which may even include clashes of viewpoints. Climates high on idea proliferation display high levels of variety in terms of ideas and often have debates concerning ways of working and thinking.

POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

This dimension refers to the extent to which people trust and get on well with one another at work. This also refers to the extent that there is an absence of personal conflicts.

Low Positive Relationships High Positive Relationships
Organizations that demonstrate low levels of positive relationships are those characterised by a level of suspicion amongst workers. There is a feeling of a lack of trust and openness in relationships. People are suspicious of others intentions or motives and feel fear regarding making mistakes. Environments with low levels of positive relationships may include high levels of gossip or slander amongst employees. Organizations characterised by high levels of positive relationships are those where there is a perception that people are encouraging and supportive of each other. The perception in the organization is one where individuals are trusted and open towards each other. People can demonstrate initiative within a supportive environment without fear of personal conflict or ridicule in the face of failure. Communication between individuals is open, supportive and straightforward.

STRESS

The extent to which people feel overburdened and under pressure at work. This also refers to the extent that people do not feel they have the resources to cope with the demands at work.

Low Stress High Stress
Organizations characterised by low levels of stress are those in which people feel that they can easily achieve their goals and tasks at work and are supported to do so. Organizations with low levels of stress demonstrate low levels of negativity and high levels of can-do attitude. Low stress can be problematic if combined with low levels of dynamism or energy. Organizations characterised by high levels of stress are those in which individuals are working beyond their capability to deal with the demands of the work situation. Climates that have high levels of negative stress (as opposed to high levels of energy and dynamism) are those in which people feel overburdened and under pressure, without any positive energy.

SHARED VIEW

This dimension refers to the extent to which there are open and adequate communications between more and less senior employees. This also refers to the extent to which individuals feel that there is openness between people at work.

Low Shared View High Shared View
In organizations where the shared view is low there are divisions between different levels at work in the perception of purpose. The climate demonstrates a feeling that there is a lack of openness, honesty and integrity about communication within the organization. These organizations are characterised by high levels of ‘us and them’ between divisions, levels or departments. Organizations that have a climate demonstrating high levels of shared view are characterised by a sense of unity in purpose and direction. They also demonstrate a level of openness between individuals in that the communication between individuals is open and honest. In climates where there is a high level of shared view there are low levels of ‘us and them’ between employees and higher levels of simply 'us'.

PAY RECOGNITION

This dimension refers to the extent that people are satisfied with their remuneration and appropriately rewarded for the effort and work that they do.

Low Pay Recognition High Pay Recognition
Organizations that demonstrate low levels of pay recognition are characterised by a sense of injustice or unfairness in terms of the pay that individuals receive across the organization. Individuals are not fairly remunerated for the effort, energy nor productivity of their work. Organizations characterised by high levels of pay recognition are not necessarily organizations that pay high amounts of remuneration but those in which there is a feeling that there is fairness in terms of pay across the organization. Organizations with high levels of pay recognition demonstrate that individuals feel that there is fair and open recognition in terms or remuneration across the organization.

WORK RECOGNITION

This dimension refers to the extent that people receive praise for their achievements. This includes the extent to which individuals’ efforts are recognised in terms of encouragement and support.

Low Work Recognition High Work Recognition
Organizations that have climates that display low levels of work recognition are characterised by feelings of lack of recognition for the efforts that individuals put in to their work. In these organizations individuals do not feel that their efforts are rewarded, acknowledged nor encouraged. Consequently individuals within these organizations are likely to put in less effort and motivation into their work demands. These organizations can be seen to have an attitude of ‘why bother’ regarding extra effort. Organizations that demonstrate high levels of work recognition are those in which individuals feel that their efforts and energies are supported and appropriately recognised within the organization including colleagues and superiors. Organizations high on work recognition put systems in place that appropriately and meaningfully recognise the work that individuals do for the organization and consequently encourage and motivate individuals.

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Comments

Having looked at several practitioners of the Ekvall criteria, I have been delighted to work with Mark and the Dolphin Organization to evaluate BBI’s culture for change and creativity. Mark has combined excellent, pragmatic business realism, with the passion to drive 21st century business growth, and he communicates this in a way that has engaged every level of the business and been truly inspirational. If you are looking to the future for you and your business, you need to do this!

Peter Corish, Head of Business Development, BBI Group

The great thing about the Dolphin Index is the opportunity to benchmark your climate against the world outside - and get feedback that says 'It doesn't have to be like that!'

David Mayle, Head of the Open University Business School's Centre for Innovation, Knowledge & Enterprise

The Dolphin Index is a really useful tool for clearly identifying our strengths and areas for improvement.

Jo North, Commercial Director, Northern Rail

The Dolphin Index has been an important tool in Nestle Rowntree’s strategy to develop a broad innovation culture across the business and to remove the mystique that so often surrounds creativity and innovation.

Creativity Development Manager, Nestle Rowntree

The Dolphin Index is the ideal tool for assessing your climate and so for understanding the levers to pull so as to make the enterprise more dynamic, innovative and successful.

Nick Gurney, Former CEO Bristol City Council