Translucent Organization

Created in 1998 by Mac Bogert and Nancy Rosenshine

This program focuses on surfacing and eliminating barriers to information flow so that all members of an organization -- team, office, agency, division, or company.


This Will benefit in three critical areas of organization development


  1. Clarity

    Why are we doing what we do? As members of an organization clarify roles and processes, they can achieve greater alignment and better communication protocols. Poor or incomplete communication causes problems in every organization; this program resolves communication issues.

  2. Safety

    What prevents us from being candid with each other? Many assumptions and behaviors reduce trust and candor in organizations, preventing feedback and dialogue so that issues are masked. This program increases trust and candor to strengthen relationships and enable participants to resolve conflicts.

  3. Power Sharing

    What can we do to encourage leadership and accountability among all of our members? Power sharing involves a collaborative dialogue that includes every member of the organization in defining and apportioning responsibility.The Translucent Organization® is a multi-step process conducted in an atmosphere of neutrality and open dialogue. Maybe it's time to question some underlying assumptions about work. We work through four steps --

    I. Assessment. Through a variety of media, including informal, confidential dialogue, questionnaires (both paper and on-line), and formal evaluations, we seek data to share with all participants (without attribution) to identify barriers and drivers to increasing organizational transparency. We have developed several original instruments to accomplish this stage, including --

    The T.O. Organizational Assessment®, a practical, easily-completed instrument that produces a clear visual representation measuring importance and occurrence of behaviors associated with Clarity, Safety, and Power Sharing.

    The T.O. Multi-Source Feedback Instrument®, a compact method for generating data that will help participants understand their impact on others in the workplace. It is our experience most problems between members of organizations result from judgments of others' motives based on assumptions that have not been checked out. This instrument is invaluable in opening a dialogue to reconcile differences and check out assumptions.


    The Solution Preference Inventory®, an innovative instrument that measures how organizations deal with differences, and how its members would prefer to deal with differences. A unique quality to this instrument, which is scenario-based, is that the scenarios can be customized to fit the individual workplace of each client. It is accompanied by Interest-Based Problem Solving, the Thoughtful Use of Personal Power, published by Mac in 1999.


    II. Process Development. Based on the assessment data, the participants -- in partnership with the consultants -- develop a plan for change, in the structure of Start/Keep/Stop:

    These are things we will commit to start doing because they will improve our communication, our trust and candor, our commitment to continuous improvement, and ultimately, our service.

    These are things we will keep doing because they support the strengths of our organization.

    These are things we will stop doing because they are holding us back from the future we are committed to create.


    III. Benchmarking. The group develops thresholds for progress measurement, timelines for revisiting, and regular feedback sessions to involve everyone in the responsibility of progress. The benchmarks will be focused on the information gleaned from the assessment process, focused on Clarity, Safety, and Power Sharing.

    This process shall follow ground rules to ensure neutrality, lack of blame, and possibilities rather than failings. The consultants shall serve as facilitators to help promote a future focus on solutions. During the benchmarking process, additional assistance may be provided upon request, including assessment, coaching, mediation, and dialogue sessions.

    IV. Re-iteration Plan. The Translucent Organization is not a goal but an environment. The last (though not the final) step in this program is the development of future critical junctures based on questions such as --

    What will we do if we think we're backsliding?
    How can we continue to encourage questions?
    How can we introduce new personnel to the history and goals of our evolution?
    What will we do when confronted with changes that might threaten our new transparency?

    The consultants, as part of The Translucent Organization concept, are part of a contingency facilitation plan. They are available to serve as sounding boards, coaches, and challengers as future events unfold.