Self-Assessment for Legislative Staff Organizations


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The NCSL Self-Assessment Survey for Legislative Staff Organizations is a customized survey tool that provides insights into organizational strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.

The survey tool is designed around standards found in the Baldrige performance criteria, concepts presented by Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great," Peter Drucker's timeless lessons on management, and NCSL's experience working with state legislatures for more than 30 years.

NCSL hopes your use of the Self-Assessment Survey will provide you and your organization with new insights about organizational performance and opportunities for improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How Does it Work?

A: The NCSL Self-Assessment Survey for Legislative Staff Organizations is an online survey designed to be used by legislative staff groups.  Survey respondents provide ratings on a series of statements on leadership, management and other measures of organizational performance. NCSL sets up the survey specifically for your group, compiles the responses and sends you a report with the resulting data.  The resulting group scores indicate areas of strength and potential opportunities for improvement and change.  If requested, NCSL experts can help you assess your group scores, work with you on key issues, or guide you to additional resources.

Q. What Does it Cost?

A: The survey is a free service to any state legislative staff group.

Q: What is the source of the self-assessment survey questions and criteria?

A: All questions/criteria are based on best practices and standards found in leading research and writing on leadership, management and organizational effectiveness, and on findings derived from over 30 years of NCSL experience working with state legislative staff groups. For example, in Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, he reports that great organizational leaders almost always exhibit “humility” as a personal trait. This aspect of leadership is therefore included in the survey.

Q: OK, we used the survey and we have compiled our results. How do we make use of these data? What’s the next step?

A:The survey is designed to create awareness about problems, issues and opportunities that may exist within your staff organization. It is only a first step. Some next steps might include:

  • Convene a facilitated dialog with senior managers or other employees to examine the survey results, identify priority issues and develop action steps that address opportunities for improvement. As part of this approach, the staff director may require senior staff to read appropriate resources prior to the dialog.
  • Distribute group survey results to all staff and solicit recommendations that address priority issues. If using this approach, be careful to follow through with the process by taking actions where necessary. Otherwise, employees may see the solicitation of their ideas as an empty gesture.
  • Bring in NCSL organizational consultants or other professionals who can help you work through the survey results, develop recommendations for change and assist with change management issues.
  • If you use the survey, be sure to do something with the results. If your organization scores high on all criteria, celebrate. If only a few criteria stand out as requiring attention, find ways to discuss them with employees. If some big issues pop out, take them on openly and directly. Your staff group will expect and appreciate action.