When any person or organization is on autopilot you can never really tell if they are asleep or still awake. Why? The outcome will always be the same. Their direction will always be the same. The difficulty, however, is if something unexpected comes up, are those who are behind the wheel in a position to take care of the crisis?
How to do you tell if an organization is asleep or awake? Throw in a wrench and see how they react. You will find that there are four different possible reactions and each gives you a little insight.
1) They are asleep. If so, they won’t react. This is the second most dangerous decision. At least you know where they are headed and you can get out of the way.
2) Woken up and mad. If they are asleep and the wrench woke them up they may become iritated. This is the most dangerous reaction because you have no idea what will come next. Their focus will be on who threw the wrench rather than fixing the situation and realizing they should have been awake.
3) Woken up and alert. If they are asleep and the wrench woke them up they may panic a little and try to fix the situation. They will know they should have been awake and try harder the next time. Although maybe annoyed by the whomever threw the wrench, they are actually grateful for being woken up.
4) Already awake. If they are already awake they will smoothly take care of the problem. Again, they may be a little annoyed, but at least you will know that you can trust them.
Sometimes organizations (and people) need the same wrench throwing. Only, who is brave enough to do it? Are you? There is a chance they won’t appreciate it. But sometimes the outcome of awakening and understanding is worth more than the little annoyance that might happen. Their reaction will tell you if they are ready to take the next step.