A couple of years ago while working on a project. I thought of the idea of “lenses and levers” as a simple but valuable way of thinking about organizational development tools. At the time, I just noted it down on the outside of the project file folder (I’m cleaning out old files today) and thought I should capture it in a more permanent location.

“Lenses” are methods and tools that allow you to view and understanding what’s going on in the organization. Reports, surveys, metrics, analytics, and dashboards are examples in this category, as well as more qualitative approaches like ethnographic research.

“Levers” are tools that allow you to alter or control what goes on in the organization. These might include governance, strategic planning, management, training and development, communications, and incentives.

AB — 29 May 2009