Porpoising for Insights

You can learn about what’s really going on within your organization by “porpoising.” Think about a porpoise, repeatedly diving deep into the ocean and then rising to the surface, gathering information at all levels. As a manager you should periodically “porpoise” into each functional area within your nonprofit and talk about what’s going on.
Be careful to approach this exercise as a seeker of knowledge, not as a detective trying to ferret out guilty parties. Ask simple questions: What is going on here? How do people here feel about what we’re trying to do? Is the organization getting in your way? What would you do to fix that? You’ll always gain valuable insights.
The longer you do it—and do it with discretion and a low-key, sincere desire to understand what is going on and what may be getting in the team’s way—the more the team will trust you and give you actionable information.

  • Do you porpoise within your organization?
  • What kind of questions would you ask to better understand what’s really going on?