What is Organization Development?
A process with a definite start and finish. It begins with a desire to change, i.e. setting change goals. The nature of the "change" is in the behaviour and thinking or culture and ways of working of the organization. When completed, such exercises invariably lead to increased effectiveness of leadership processes, team working, reduction of cost and wastage, reduction in conflicts and tension, improvement in levels of cooperation and initiative. Bottom lines and top lines improve significantly and stress levels drop.
It is a participative, planned change exercise. Setting goals for the change and the actual "changing" are done by the client under conditions facilitated by the consultant. It begins with an assessment and diagnosis, enters then into a phase of educational exercises and comes to closure with an evaluation of the effort.
The core of an organization lies in its energy. However energy is directly the product of emotions. Management consulting, drawing from engineering models and economic desiderata, necessarily remains within the “rational” world of inputs and outputs. OD practices and procedures in responding to the rational problems/needs also address the vital domain of emotions, helping bring about higher levels of alignment. The work with emotions reduces levels of toxic emotions (de-energizers) and develops ways and means of reducing the production of toxic experiences and processes.
Management Consultants take charge of designing the new blue prints this is content consulting – OD consultancy facilitates the organization’s members to develop their own blue prints. This distinguishes it as Process Consulting.
In Content Consulting the consultants finally write out the prescription, in process consulting the client develops his own prescription. This becomes possible as in process consulting the consultants assist in mining the hidden or tacit knowledge and idea beds lying within the organization. Process Consulting helps a client learn “how to learn” from her own experience and from around the world.
Classical management practices move to find solutions to problems by using analytical techniques. Process Consulting practice helps to also examine the context within which the problem as well as its solvers lie. Process consulting thus looks at "how" the organisation solves problems,with a view to finding more effective ways. It goes on to help review the linkages between the problem, the context, the solvers and the desired solution.
In Process Consulting the client is not just the top management but the processes of the whole organization. This includes the vital areas of relationships between people, between people and the organization and so on.
HRD works within the stated policies and goals of the organization. However, when the policies and goals, and the behaviour in the organization do not adequately support each other HRD can only play a support and maintenance functions. OD on the other hand brings in an "external" view point which is used to support the organization's need for change by facilitating the emergence of new directions,structures,practices and new behaviour.
OD thus almost invariably uses a third party point of view of looking at the inner working thus increasing significantly the rate at which the organization gets into a "learning" mode to change itself.
Thus HRD is an ongoing function of management and may be likened to maintenance while OD is more like a project and may be likened to advancing to a new level of "fitness".
OD will do for you what you want to do with it. There is no limit to what OD can do for you except your collective imagination and own capacity for new learning. You get from OD in direct proportion to what you put in. We have seen dramatic changes when the client pursued it fully.
Some organisations use it for short range improvements in leadership effectiveness, team effectiveness or for problem solving such as conflict management, diversity management. For more details please see "products and services".
People want improvement, the top management wants an increase in business and members want an increase in fluency of working, invitation to apply themselves and accomplish more than yesterday. OD creates opportunities for this wish to gather collective momentum and action. We create special learning opportunities in groups for this to happen. There is no "teaching" or "preaching" but a great deal of learning takes place which can be directly transferred to the work place. The critical driving force is the buy in of the top management. Typically all OD exercises begin after ensuring this buy in. To make the buy in happen we begin by interacting with the top team. That is followed by generating a brief which will govern the client consultant relationship and expectations. Please see the section on "Procedure".
All interactions will be designed to open new doors of perception, thinking and action. OD works by the energy and ideation done by the client, in other words you will do it yourself.
Yes and no. There are organizations, which have used it to great benefit. Most organizations with a successful OD experience prefer to not advertise the fact simply because the exercise necessarily goes into the depths of the organization and its working involving issues of privacy.
We have worked with organisations of all sizes and pursuits.
The focus in OD, as the name suggests is on the organization. Organizations definitely change; people in the process of fostering the organization change also bring about individual changes in their own (including personal) lives according to the need they feel and the autonomous choices they make. The byline of our practice is "change by choice".
Do you want your organization to change, if so to what extent? Does the top management team feel the need for a change? Is there a need to change the ways in which the organization works? Does the CEO believe that there is the need for a change in the organization culture?
If your answer to any of the above is yes, you have a starting point.
You can start by developing a consensus in the top team that there is a need for a change. Some organizations seek outside assistance from OD consultants in checking the need for change and developing change goals.
The time taken will be determined by the width and depth of change you are looking for. Short range problem solving interventions such as the formation of a new team or conflict resolution may take as short a time as a week apart from the time you take to plan and finalise the logistics.For deeper change requirements such as culture change you will need a six month to a year's time horizon.Like all good changes OD cannot do anything overnight. OD will help develop your goals for change, help you develop an action plan and take you through the actions. A minimum of six to eight months of sustained effort (for smaller organizations) is needed.
OD is invariably talked about as an investment since it leads to significant returns at all levels. The investment you make will be a conscious decision. As a result you can progress in steps and engage with it as long as each step seems gainful to you. Investments can vary from the range of a few lacs to whatever extent you wish to use it, One of our clients was asked at the end of an OD exercise to estimate his ROI, the top team gave a figure of 35%.
Our three decades plus engagement with change management and organization development has pointed to the fact that the key element in efforts to change organizations is the level of inner energy that is available to the individuals and the organization as a whole.
Thus our central focus in studying, diagnosing, intervening and developing organizations is to locate blocks to energy and idea flow in the client organization and helping remove the blocks and let the flows happen at optimum levels. This leads to excitement and voluntary application of effort and thus organization change.
Raising “innergy” is the foundation step in increasing the collective intelligence of groups and the organization. It is also the first step in raising emotional intelligence of individuals
OD is founded on serious research based knowledge and forms one of the leading edge developments in the field of Management. It is eclectic and combines all streams of the social sciences. OD recognizes emotions as an integral part of the canvas of human existence. The orthodox approaches of management practices were developed from principles of engineering and thus are neither equipped nor adequately sensitive to emotions in organizations. However dimensions such as commitment, creativity, resilience, and stress are all in the nature of emotions. Management practices legislate emotion out of the formal arena and leave it to charismatic leaders or to the HR function. OD helps balance the world of tasks, deliveries, and efficiencies with the world of emotion. Since this is the only management practice that recognizes values and works with emotions, people with skeptical stances have fostered the “touchy feely” image. In our view this label is an indignity and belongs to the kind of social milieu and orientation that underlies biases such as racism.