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Organization Development Brief
Purpose of this document
This document gives further information about Organization
Development (OD) and also provides information on the types of
OD work we do.
- OD defined
- Characteristics of OD projects
- OD process
- Organization assessments
- Strategic visioning
- Organizational change
- Project management support
- Communications and conflict management
- Team development
- Training and workshops
Organizational Development defined
Organizational Development, OD, as it's commonly
called, is a broad term applied in many ways. We define it as
the systematic process for applying behavioral science practices
and principles in organizations to increase individual and organizational
In practice, we use the research and theory as resources
to develop a customized approach for the client. We have two major
goals: (1) to increase the effectiveness of individuals, teams
and the organization as a whole, and (2) to teach organization
members to continually improve their own functioning. Often the
process of "plan, act, measure" is iterative with each
successive loop gaining additional results.
Characteristics of OD projects include:
- Systemic thinking, understanding interrelationship
- Focus on values, culture and processes, making
- Planned implementation of change
- Strong collaboration between consultant and client
- Focus on both task and process throughout the
- Action research process (explained below)
We help organizations clarify their goals and identify
resources and the best process. Our staff works with leadership
to manage the process and ensure that we achieve the results.
In my practice, I work beyond the traditional OD
interventions in that I also help to develop competencies, systems
and processes. This broader approach and the addition of expert
resources from my partner network allow me to help clients achieve
their most critical goals.
It is often difficult for leaders to determine what's
working and what's not from the perspective of people within the
organization. We can administer commercial organizational assessment
instruments, or we can design tailored surveys to gather specific
information. The purpose of any data gathering effort is to identify
sources of problems and support the plan to take improvement actions.
The Assessment Introduction provides further information about
We help organizations envision their future by focusing
on their strengths to develop their strategic intent. Our work
is influenced by Cooperrider's work on Appreciative Inquiry and
Buckingham's work on strengths and talents. We often help organizations
reinvent themselves in anticipation of and in response to market
changes or internal issues.
Change is the most common umbrella term for the
work done in organizations today. We help organizations apply
the body of research on effective change. Work from systems thinkers
like Peter Senge and practitioners like Daryl Connor and John
Kotter have influenced our practice. Ciela developed this useful
formula for understanding change:
D * V * F > R
The energy provided by:
Dissatisfaction with the current state times
Vision of the future times
must be greater than the
Resistance to change.
We help clients understand each of these elements
and manage them to effect organizational change.
Project management support
Projects are a way of life within organizations
and yet, sometimes the tools and process are missing. We provide
support to prioritize projects based on the company's mission,
then assign resources, set goals and evaluate results. The tools
we offer are tailored to the scale of the projects and the resources
of the organization.
Communications and conflict management
We accomplish goals by working well together. Effective
communication is key, and conflict is a guarantee. Effectively
managed conflict can actually provide energy and passion for delivering
results. We help clients develop the capacity to communicate effectively
and to productively manage conflict when it arises.
Clients may wish to scan the Workroom for additional
information on theories, processes, and favorite books on communications
and conflict management.
Much of the work in organizations is done in teams.
We offer support for this work including understanding of the
stages of group development, cross-functional team management,
alignment of goals, establishment of responsibility and accountability.
Through collaboration with members of our partner network we also
provide outdoor learning experiences for teams.
We provide design and facilitation for meetings,
retreats and other group experiences. Through our partner network
we can offer graphic facilitation and real-time mind mapping.
Training and workshops
We offer training as needed to reach organizational
goals. Samples of training we've offered include alignment to
the vision, communications skills, decision making, and leadership
We can help organizations assess their training
needs and find training available in the marketplace or develop
training in partnership with the client. We also offer two workshops
developed by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara: Planning for
Change and Making Change.
What is a typical Organization Development process?
Our Organization Development projects typically
follow four phases. In the first phase, Definition and Data
Gathering, we clarify what we're trying to accomplish. Together
with the client, we ask what does success look like? To deliver
initial insights we typically gather organizational information,
conduct interviews, and collect and integrate 360-degree feedback
for the leader(s). We may also decide to conduct an organization-wide
assessment to give broader context. We offer a variety of commercial
instruments as well as assessments tailored for the client.
In the second phase, Design and Planning,
we use the data we've gathered to develop a plan to move from
the current state to the desired state. This involves work undertaken
by the leader, team members and members of our staff. We also
set the goals we will use to measure our performance.
The third phase of the project, Implementation,
is aimed at taking action and measuring results. We frequently
make changes to the plan as we gather information about what needs
to be done. This phase typically involves coaching and other consulting
methods, and it continues until we reach the goals set for the
The final phase, Evaluation / Support Structures,
involves measuring results, celebrating success and setting up
the framework to sustain the changes. This phase may include follow-on
coaching, feedback systems, ongoing measurements or other techniques
to ensure sustained change. Most importantly, we help the leader
identify and engage the additional resources needed to support