Caution When Using RC Survey for Organizational Change
Relational coordination is a theory and research-based approach for understanding the relational drivers of high performance. One element of this approach is a validated survey tool -- the Relational Coordination Survey -- for measuring the quality of the communication and relationships that underlie effective coordination.
While the RC Survey is well established as an observational research tool, its use as an intervention is still in the earliest stages of development. It would be easy to underestimate the complexity – and risks – of this work. Overly simplistic interventions can cause great harm. Reviewing RC scores can elicit shame, defensiveness, projection, triangulation and scapegoating; it can exacerbate conflict and compromise performance. The lower the level of relational coordination (and thus the greater the need for an intervention), the greater the likelihood of a dysfunctional response to the scores.
As elegant and straightforward as the RC Survey is as a measure, it is not a magic bullet for improving team performance or organizational culture. It needs to be used as one part of a broader intervention that includes longitudinal individual and team coaching, trustworthy processes for relational learning and accountability, and leadership development to assure consistent parallel process across levels of the team or organization. Such work requires the involvement of skilled coaches/consultants with deep experience in group dynamics, systems work, conflict resolution, and the teaching of emotional self-management. For all these reasons, we urge you not to tread lightly or naively into the realm of interventions. Be prepared to invest the necessary time and resources and be sure you have access to the skills and experience that the work requires.
The Relational Coordination Resource Collaborative is committed to enhancing the improvement of communication and relationship behaviors to foster high performance. We support this goal in three ways. First, we foster a learning community and rigorous research to enhance the development and dissemination of new knowledge on organizational interventions. Second, we offer training and certification to individuals to help them fully understand the use of relational coordination for organizational change. Third, we offer a referral service to help organizations find certified coaches/consultants to whom they can entrust the sensitive and challenging work of organizational change.
For more information, please contact us at email@example.com.