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Pause to Consider

The following Internal
Transactions activity is adapted from Leadership In Child Protection
(Schneider, Crow, & Burtnett, 2000, p. 56-57) and is one you may want to
add to your management tools when working with employees and especially when
working with Leadership Team members. It is a quick way of assessing the
quality of employees’ interactions at a specific point in time. More
importantly, it is a strategy to improve their interactions with each other
over time. This serves not only to improve their interactions with each other
but serves to improve their interactions with other agency stakeholders.
Additionally, it clearly lets employees know what you value and what you expect
from them as they interact with each other and with agency stakeholders.

Interpersonal excellence starts
inside your agency. The success of your Leadership Team depends, in part, on
relationships, people interacting with people. Think about a single
transaction, one person interacting with another. This elementary transaction
is the smallest unit or building block from which connections with stakeholders

Your agency’s Leadership
Connections can be no stronger than the cumulative strength of the thousands
and thousands of transactions in which your staff participate over time. What’s
more, you should assume the quality of your staff’s external transactions,
interactions with stakeholders, is the same as you see in their internal
transactions, interactions with each other. Assume they relate to stakeholders
as well or as badly as they relate to each other.

Below is a list of transaction
elements you can use to assess your agency’s internal, interpersonal
environment. You do this by rating your staff’s typical functioning on each of
the ten elements. Rate your staff “5” on the element if it is most
always present in your staff members’ transactions with each other. Use
“4” for usually, “3” for much of the time, “2”
for sometimes, and “1” for usually not.


  1. Are
    friendly and positive with each other.
  2. Listen
    calmly and respectfully when others are talking.
  3. Are
    sensitive to and accepting of cultural, ethnic, and lifestyle differences.
  4. Are
    where they are expected, when they are expected.
  5. Are
    consistent and predictable, not on-again off-again, do not run hot and
  6. Are
    interested in each other’s issues and concerns, problems and difficulties.
  7. Have
    a helpful and cooperative approach with each other.
  8. Keep
    commitments and follow through with agreements.
  9. Return
    phone calls, respond to messages, and get back to others when expected.
  10. Treat
    each other as well as you expect them to treat all agency stakeholders.

Add your ten ratings together
and divide by 10. This gives you an internal transaction score for your agency.
An important goal for your Leadership Team is increasing the internal
transaction score over time.

is an effective strategy to increase your agency’s internal transaction score.
Monthly, randomly select 10% of your staff to do the above rating for the
agency. If your total staff is under fifty, select five staff members each
month to be the raters.

the raters spend no more than five minutes doing the ratings and be sure they
do not consult with each other while completing the ratings. Simply have each
rater complete an Internal Transaction
Rating Form
you develop using the ten elements above.

the month’s forms are returned, calculate the internal transaction score on
each form by adding the ratings on each item together and dividing by 10. Then,
total the internal transaction scores from the forms. Suppose you have 30
forms. You total the 30 individual internal transaction scores and then divide
by 30. You divide by the number of forms actually returned. The resulting
internal transaction score for the agency will be between 1.0 and 5.0 each

the agency’s score may go up and down slightly from month to month, do not
focus on the month to month fluctuations. You are looking for a gradually
increasing score over time. Create a chart or graph and share it with all staff
so they can see how the score changes over time.

Leadership Team will want to develop specific training and other activities to
improve the agency’s internal transaction score. They will also want to
consistently model the desired behavior. Whether there are special activities
or not, the simple process of measuring and posting the agency’s score each
month will lead to a gradual increase in that score over time, assuming
Leadership Team members consistently model the wanted behavior.

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