Organizational Development Is Evolving
Organizational Development (OD) is still quite new and is therefore a practice that is still evolving. The definition, as such, isn’t fully set yet and new principles are added or amended regularly. However, it is about an approach that is fully based on values and that celebrates the dynamic nature of any organization. It attempts to ensure that organizations are able to reach and sustain the state that it wants to achieve, thereby benefiting its employees and its customers and networks.
In order for organizational development to be able to make a difference, they have to first set goals.
“Increased productivity and performance, better profitability and improved employee morale are among the common goals companies have when hiring OD professionals.” Organizational Development & Guiding Principles
Goals need to be dynamic and achievable. This is why a three-year strategy is usually developed, together with a rolling action plan. As actions are completed, new actions emerge that help the company as a whole to move forward towards bigger and better goals. This strongly involves increasing employee engagement and job satisfaction, as the workforce is the key towards achieving any goals.
Organizational Development Is Based on Values
The key to organizational development, once the strategy and goals have been set, is to focus on values.
“The practice of OD is grounded in a distinctive set of core values and principles that guide behavior and actions.” Principles Of OD Practice
These values include inclusion and respect, authenticity, collaboration, empowerment and self-awareness. These are all soft skills, which means that it is about more than simply sending each employee on a training course to increase their skills. It is about creating a culture that is adopted throughout the organization and that is supportive of development and inclusion.
Organizational Development Is About Change
People, unfortunately, are resistant to change. They are comfortable in, or at least accepting of, their current situation and are afraid that change will be for the worse. Organizational development aims to break through this barrier. This means that they have to focus on company-wide interventions, which is a massive change in its own right.
“In general, organizations that wish to achieve a high degree of organizational change will employ a full range of interventions, including those designed to transform individual and group behavior and attitudes. Entities attempting smaller changes will stop short of those goals, applying interventions targeted primarily toward operating policies, management structures, worker skills, and personnel policies.” Organizational Development
Because these changes are so wide and affects every echelon of the organization, it is very important that it is properly prepared and researched first. This is precisely why a good company has their own organizational development department, or even brings in a consultant to do the work. If that isn’t done, and the job is given as a secondary role to someone else, it becomes increasingly difficult to implement change, as the people themselves will be resistant to the change they want to implement themselves. Those who work in organizational development have to empower management to achieve strategic realization. The key to that, in turn, is developing motivational leadership.
“Concentrating on achieving sustained performance through personal growth, value-based relationships and planning that recognizes human dynamics.” Organizational Development – Change Implementation
It also involves creating support for those who will be responsible to turn that strategy into action, for instance, by working on individual projects that feed into the strategic action plan. It is also very strongly about performance management. All people have to be enabled to actually deliver results, and processes need to be in place to monitor this and provide support if certain results cannot be achieved. As such, the field of organizational development is dynamic and never stops moving towards further change.