Category Archives: Organizational Development

Would The Real OD Please Stand Up?

Conferences and seminars are both great networking events as you get to meet a lot of people. They are also opportunities to hear some great and thought-provoking conversations. I had one such exchange last year while talking to a professional colleague 0f mine. Somebody new came in and introduced himself to us only to find out that he and my colleague were both part of the same extremely large organization and part of two different entities.

Question to my colleague after the customary business card exchange: “What is your role in our company?”

Answer: “I am an Organizational Development (OD) manager.”

Response: “Ah, so you are in the training department.”

Reaction: “NO, I AM NOT. I am in OD. As you know, training is a different department.”

This emphatic exchange prompted me to explore where we are in the field of OD. It also made me realize that we really do need to get back to basics.

OD is a much used and often abused term which creates a variety of reactions among organization members. The most tactical and basic reaction is that it is often associated with Training. At other times, it can create confusion with another OD, which is Organization Design.

Yes, a degree in Human Resources and associated fields educate practitioners in the theory and field of OD. However, the reality is that the maturity of organizations, and the impact we create with our roles in organizations, determines the application of it.

Let’s go back to basics on OD.

One classic definition of organization development comes from Richard Beckhard’s 1969 Organization Development: Strategies and Models:

“Organization Development is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organizations “processes,” using behavioral-science knowledge.”

There are a few things we need to remember in order to make OD truly real and impactful:

A) Dynamic process: OD is an evolving process and it is critical for us to remember that it is not a static checklist of things that need to be done. The effort to increase organizational effectiveness and health is a continuous exercise. The frameworks and processes of OD theory are often only methods to provide structure and rigor to ongoing initiatives. The process below is a good example of the dynamic process of events that may happen in a program roll out.

Image                                                                    source: Western Washington University

B) OD and Change: OD interventions are usually put front and center when there is a major Change Management initiative being proposed. While OD and Change Management do go hand in hand, change is constant in today’s environment. Therefore, the role of OD is not a transactional solution, but a continuous value proposition for organizations.

C) Value Based Practice: The core tenant of Organizational Development practice is that it is a value-based practice. It is essential for OD practitioners to ensure that values such as Inclusion, Authenticity, Empowerment, Sponsorship, etc. are all explicitly practiced in all stages of work.

D) Facilitate Contracting and Marketing: Two of the core competencies of a practitioner are the ability to contract with stakeholders and also market OD efforts. Firstly the OD practitioner has to be able to actively contract with various leaders and stakeholders across the organization’s need, and ensure clarity in the rationale for ongoing initiatives. As defined by Beckhard – “Managed From the Top” clearly states the need to ensure that senior leaders support actively and visibly sponsor OD initiatives. The role of the OD professional is to facilitate the sponsorship conversations with leaders, and is a critical competency that needs to be developed. Additionally, once the support and sponsorship is secured, it is now time for the practitioner to market the initiatives (he second competency) in the organization and gain support from employees across levels. The value of group engagement is critical and, again the role of the practitioner as a facilitator cannot be emphasized enough

E) Defining Expectations: Success of any OD initiative is directly linked to the ability to identify and define clear desired outcomes and ensure that the expectations of the leadership are met. Clear desired outcomes need to be determined before the commencement of any program, especially if there are long term

F) Feedback and Measuring Success: In order to ensure impact of the initiative and any associated learning solutions, OD practitioners can deploy ROE (Return of Expectations) methodologies to ensure that results can be measured. To do this successfully, practitioners need to have strong data measurement and analysis skills – a competency often overlooked in HR and OD departments.

Organizational development is an extremely complex humanistic process. It has the potential to add business value to the organization and increase its effectiveness on an ongoing basis. This potential value is in our hands as OD practitioners, and we are only able to maximize our relevance and value proposition if we do this right. OD is NOT training. Training and development is an outcome of an OD intervention.

Let the real OD please stand up and take its place.


Post by Vinay Kumar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

5 Reasons We Shouldn’t Bury Instructor Led Training (ILT) just yet

It has become a very popular hobby among L&D professionals to bash Instructor Led Training (ILT) at the profit of social learning, self paced learning or even individual coaching.

There is no doubt that new technology based forms of learning are great in the way that they allow learners to use new interfaces that sometimes fit their learning style and lifestyle  better. There is also no doubt that coaching is an extremely powerful, highly personalised development approach.However, this does not mean that our ancient ILT was never effective or “just doesn’t work for digital natives”(sic) or “goes against adult learning principles.”(sic)

When I read or hear this, I really wonder what kind of ILT people have been attending or have been facilitating. If done properly, ILT can be a very effective part of someone’s development.

1. ILT allow participants to share experiences with one another with someone to facilitate the exchange and help them debrief these experiences in order to identify learning points. They can also sometimes learn by listening someone else’s question, and subsequent discussion,that they had not thought of.

2. ILT allow participants to confront their perspective to others. Someone from the HR function might discuss empathy very differently than someone from Information Security and they will both build a better understanding of the business by being exposed to each others perspective.

3. Being exposed to different perspectives and mental models also builds can also be a good way to build acceptance of diversity of others but also assertiveness when debating with people with different opinions.

4. ILT are a great place to network. Participants often get a chance to meet colleagues they would never meet otherwise or meet peers from other organizations.

5. ILT can also be a good occasion for intact teams to step back from every day operations and spend time together developing skills that will enable the team to work better.

So, is ILT only way to develop new skills? No.

Are technology based learning systems useful? Yes.

Are other forms of development like coaching, group process facilitation and mentoring also useful? Yes.

The only thing I hope the L&D community moves away from is the either/or mentality. Effective development initiatives are the ones that understand how to blend different  methods in order to achieve real development.

Post by Guillaume Gevrey – Director & Principal Consultant C2C

The War For Talent Is Over And Talent Has Won


The term “War for talent” was coined by McKinsey & Company in 1997. It referred to the competition companies were facing to recruit and retain talented employees. In his report ‘Predictions for 2014’, Josh Bersin rightly said that ‘the war for talent is over and talent has won’.

The war for talent might be over, but the need for technical and professional skills has never been higher. The rapid changes of our business environment, as well as the recent technological advances, have created an enormous demand for new and specialized skills. Recently I spoke to a Malaysian client in the Oil & Gas industry, who shared with me that the skills he needs in his organization, are not readily available in the market. An even bigger problem he said was the duration of the learning cycle. It can take almost 4 years for a young engineer to become an experienced contributor in his organization, and to grow them to leadership positions can take as long as 10 years. Unfortunately, he is not alone as many organizations are facing similar challenges.

The answer to these challenges is an integrated approach to talent learning and development. All the elements of talent management, including talent learning and development, need to work as one integrated system. No one learning and development intervention stands alone, they need to be stitched together to address the various talent challenges.

Talent development has always been closely linked with performance management. Looking at the range of performance management systems, one end of the scale can be defined as ‘pull’, using performance development techniques. The other end of the scale can be defined as ‘push’, using measurement techniques. Most companies are still managing for performance through performance measurement (Hay Group, 2006), often with very little added value to the overall performance and productivity of the organization.

Performance development is mainly done through learning events i.e. training. Research shows that learning events only have a short and limited impact on performance and productivity. However, when we implement contextualized learning solutions, for example when training is followed up with coaching, performance and productivity increase soars. Research is showing that performance development through contextualized learning solutions, is much more effective in helping people develop skills and competencies, and has the highest business impact (see figure 1: Continuous Learning Model by Bersin by Deloitte, 2013).

Continuous Learning by Bersin Deloitte

All this leads to one conclusion, in order for talent learning and development to be effective and add long-term value to your organization, you need to look at skills gaps today and into the future, and develop contextualized learning solutions to build a capability supply chain now.


Post by Vincent Bouw – Director & Principal Consultant C2C South East Asia

4 Steps to Creating A Culture of Customer Service in Organizations

Customer Service

With increasingly competitive and highly globalized businesses, your customers are faced with myriad choices when they buy a product or service. Assuming the product or service quality is the same amongst vendors, their loyalty and commitment to your brand can greatly be influenced by the quality of the service your personnel provide to them. Organizations with poor and inconsistent customer service quality are bound to create unsatisfied customers resulting to loss of business and tarnished image. Thus, in this article, we examine how an organization can develop a culture of service that can provide enduring impact to your customer loyalty.

Step 1: Develop a customer service mission statement. The mission statement translates the vision and core values of your organization with regard to how your customers are treated and valued by your management and personnel. Your customer service mission statement should be clear and should truly reflect your organizational commitment to make it happen. It should not be a mere lip service or some good sounding slogan devoid of implementation plans and resources.

The mission statement determines the intention and direction of culture of the organizational customer service culture. A misdirected mission statement would create confusing messages, inefficient systems and procedures and ill-equipped and non-empowered personnel to tackle the challenges and issues with customers. Get the mission statement right and you’ll get your customer service climate right. An example of a customer service mission statement is as follows:

Our organization aims to create a friendly, respectful, attentive, systematic and speedy response and resolution to our customer concerns [within a specified timeframe or metrics].

The above statement enumerates core values such as friendliness, respectfulness, attentiveness, being systematic and speed. The statement can include duration or metrics to meet at each customer service interaction. What is the customer service that you want your customers to experience in every interaction they have with your organization?

Step 2: Plan and implement a customer service climate within your organization. The climate is primarily driven by the core values of the mission statement. In order to develop the right climate, systems, procedures, tools and methodologies will have to be in place in complete harmony with each other resulting to the customer service promise you have made in words or capsulated in the service or purchase agreement. In delivering that promise, it will involve cross-function collaboration and cooperation in most instances. Without clear and understood systems, efficient tools, and defined roles and responsibilities within the customer service team and supporting teams from other departments, you can expect internal chaos and conflicts resulting to waiting and disgruntled customers, and of course, potential business loss.

Let us examine the first value in our sample mission statement. Friendliness. Whilst it comes naturally to some people, friendliness is hardly natural at all. Friendliness is achieved by teaching the customer service personnel to mindfully visualize the customers as an important part of the organization’s business. After all, without the customers, the business has no purpose whatsoever. The product or service must be of use to someone. Friendliness results from the use of proper words, greetings, questions, gestures, movements, eye contact, voice modulation intonation and pause that makes the interaction pleasant and with pleasure. Most of all, friendliness is a state of mind and a certainly an attitude – a decision. I can opt to be friendly or unfriendly today. A dissonance between words and actions will certainly create an unfriendly customer interaction. Hence, friendliness is achieved by following guidelines, steps, and tasks that bring out the right behavior and attitude towards a concern and towards a customer and through a mindful decision to do so.

Creating the right climate for customer service includes integrating to your organizational performance management philosophy an appropriate reward system encouraging a culture of customer service. There are many forms of incentives that can cultivate customer service commitment. This will require an understanding of the motivational factors of your personnel. Some would prefer recognition, time off, financial reward and combination of all three. Use them as you see fit.

Step 3: Equip your personnel with the right competencies. The mission statement and the customer service climate determine the right skills, knowledge and behavior/attitude your personnel must imbibe. According to your organizational talent development plan, identify and define the essential customer service competencies.  Let us examine the value Attentiveness from our sample mission statement. Attentiveness is the result of various communication skills at work. Such skills include active listening, proper questioning, summarizing, and explaining in a friendly and respectful manner.

Not to forget to mention is the delivery of systematic and speedy response or resolution to an issue. Being systematic comes from clear thinking and logical approach to issue at hand. Being speedy results from being systematic but this can also be highly influenced or controlled by business tools or systems in place such customer service management systems (CRMs), order tracking system (OTS), etc.   I have pointed out that business tools are essential in creating the right customer service climate in the preceding section.

Step 4: On-going monitoring of the entire customer service initiative. The mission statement should be regularly evaluated if indeed, it reflects the vision and core values of your organization; the climate needs to be constantly assessed by way of regular customer surveys, internal feedback system, external expert’s monitoring and auditing, and data collection and analysis to determine if the customer service metrics or key result areas (KRAs) or key performance indices (KPIs) are being met or exceeded.

A culture of customer service delivers tremendous benefits to your organization. Clarity in your mission statement provides the right direction to your personnel. Organized and systematic procedures, efficient tools and defined roles and responsibilities minimize conflicts and misunderstandings. A culture tends to reinforce itself by persistent push to understand what it is that makes an excellent customer interaction. Customers’ positive feedbacks energize the organization and contagiously draw more customers. Talent development plans based on business objectives and personnel development needs and goals utilize resources wisely resulting to highly motivated and ever ready customer service personnel. Customer service is not about the product or service. It is about how your organization views customers. They are people with needs and they come to you under their own circumstances. Their anger or impatience may not be really directed to you but rather to prior experience or personal issues. A positive culture of customer service allows your organization to see people as humans and not just individuals to fill your till.

In summary, customer service becomes a way of life within your organization. Such way of life is influenced by organizational mission statement, customer service climate and your commitment to identify, develop and reinforce the right customer service competencies. Remember: satisfied customers means business continuity and growth!

Post by Ramil Cueto – Director & Principal Consultant C2C China

Too Many Leaders, Not Enough Leadership



This post is adapted from an article published in People Matters

Everyone is a leader”. We have seen this statement so many times that we have all begun to believe it. For a while now HR, senior business executives, management gurus and OD Consultants have spent considerable intellectual time distinguishing the characteristics of managers and leaders and creating a list of attributes that define leadership.

In organizations, HR and OD practitioners published lists of competencies and leadership profiles for employees to be measured as part of the annual performance management process. The result is a good start – Teams, business groups and entire organizations all have plenty of leaders who check items off the competency checklist. We have begun to fundamentally change the language we use and call our upline managers – “leaders”. Even if we do call them as managers, the N+2 or N+3 are often referred to as leaders. This is a good start and definitely does create a culture and message for making a strong and developing pipeline of leaders.

We are missing one key factor though. What we are missing is leadership. As Michael Jordan once said “Earn your leadership everyday”.

We need to take a step back and remind ourselves that leaders need to be learning and earning their leadership every day. Leadership moments are recognized after an event has occurred when teams step back and say “now that was good leadership”. Every day, leading other people evolves in our life experiences in ways that we may not realize. Sometimes we may not remember our leadership of other people. We may have influenced someone and the reality is that we may forget a moment of influence completely. On the other hand, those we have helped or encouraged never forget our actions and remember our leadership moment. I would encourage all readers to watch a brilliant TEDx Talk by Drew Dudley who talks about everyday leadership in just over six minutes.

Do we not say leaders “Do the right things” while managers “do things right”? Do we spend enough time on helping employees reflect on the “right things” and reflecting on what has been done?

So here is a task for organizational HR – Help your company celebrate leadership every day.

It is critical for HR to work with business executives to create an environment where we celebrate leadership continuously. It is easy to feel discouraged when an employee feels that s/he are doing the right things, but don’t see the reward right away. Employee recognition and appreciation programs don’t do enough and usually focus on performance-metric driven recognitions; instead they should focus on the leadership moments.

This is where everyday leadership recognition comes in. Let us ensure that we do recognize the “early adopter”, “the change influencer or enabler”, “the energy creator”, “the motivator”, “the team glue”, “the brilliant workaround idea to a problem” and all other leadership moments for demonstrating leadership skills as and when that happens. We can all do a better job of helping our business executives and managers in calling out those leadership moments. We need a culture where when we see a leadership moment, we need to stop recognize, applaud, and celebrate the person who exhibited it. The power of encouraging this is not just higher engagement of employees but also the creation of true everyday leadership. This is when we see “everyone is a leader”.

Remember “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it is amazing what they can accomplish” – Sam Walton. Here is the HR imperative – let us take a leadership role in helping everyone celebrate everyday leadership.

Post by Vinay Kumar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

7 Steps to Effective Change Management


The old adage about “If you continue to do things the way you did, you would continue to get the same results” is now outdated. The world is moving at a phenomenal speed – thanks to globalization and technology innovation. Even to keep up the existing level, one has to change.

Change can be tough, and scary, but the good news is that you can learn the skills to manage change, not only for yourself but also on how to manage it with the team around you.

Now that we have established the need to change and manage change, let us look at what happens in the process of managing change.

  1. Change causes discomfort and often leads to frustration. Needless to say, in a situation like this, people are going to “fly-off-the-handle” and this would give rise to conflict. Conflict handling would thus be one key component in managing change.
  2. Change means innovating, creating new ways of doing the same things to increase efficiencies. This area is about process improvements through innovation.
  3. Change means doing things in a way that adds value to the customer. It is no longer limited to delivering as per customer’s plans, but working towards “how do I make my customer successful?” This calls for creative problem solving.
  4. To initiate change and to have it accepted by the team, one would need to be able to present the situation. Having a good skill that can help you make your presentations with impact would go a long way in being the pillar around which change can take place.
  5. Ensuring that you are on the right track of change management, one would need to be able to make decisions based on the ability to question yourself and the data available before you. The skill in rapid decision making is one that can help you lead the change process with the confidence that you are making the right moves.
  6. As the change process is triggered one would need to work together in teams and often helping each other through effective coaching.
  7. Giving and receiving feedback would be another area that can create a difference as you would need to communicate and receive information during the time when you are tracking the effectiveness of the change process.

To be able to handle change management effectively you would need to equip yourself with skills on conflict handling, process improvements through innovation, creative problem solving, presentations with impact, rapid decision making, effective coaching, and giving and receiving feedback are needed.

Post by Sanjay Dugar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant

The Business Analyst – A leader without the title!

Robin Sharma, a prolific writer in the leadership area wrote a book, and is one that I really like – “The leader who had no title.” As I was pondering about this book and also the quaint title, it dawned on me that a business analyst is really a leader without the title – and is always leading from within.

A definition of leadership that I read somewhere says – Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen. In my work thus far, I have often faced this challenge where I had to lead and found myself short on authority; nevertheless a bit of facilitation skill development that I had stood me in good stead, and helped me achieve the bit that I have, and now I understand it a lot better – what I started doing was to create an environment where people could contribute – contribute everything really; the business case, the vision, the scope, and most importantly their “real” requirements.

All traits of leadership is woven into the skills of a Business Analyst. We have to use influence to get others to work to accomplish a task – many a times these tasks may not be what they like doing; that too without the authority of position. Most people in leadership positions have the authority of position (designation) on their side to help them in influencing others. Business analysts are generally in a position of not having authority to help them influence, so they have to be very innovative and creative.

What does “A leader without a title” imply?

The role of a BA primarily is doing analysis, recommending solutions, and utilizing the right tools. In projects, it usually means eliciting the requirements to create a product or solution that is expected to delight users / customers, while making their tasks simpler, and also achieving benefit for the organization. Sounds fairly simple, is it really so?

The BA works with business users and technical teams simultaneously – and both groups see the BA as part of their team (and in some situations visualize the BA as a person on the opposite side), which poses interpersonal challenges to some degree.

Many a times I have heard BA’s using the phrase – “I feel like the meat in the sandwich, being crushed from both sides,” and I usually retort = “It is eventually the meat that provides the taste.”

Is this all – yeah – but to be able to do this a BA needs

  1. attentive and centered listening, and as if this itself was not tough, do this while challenging the brain to process information in parallel
  2. influencing people, dealing with hidden agendas, resolving conflicts that range from professional to political to personal
  3. influencing people to perform tasks (that they may not really always like too)
  4. interrogating people and yet building and maintaining relationships
  5. educating and training people – many of them would not want to be educated or trained in the subject

In short, a BA is expected to push people towards results using a high degree of influencing skill.

As Scott Adams says – “You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me.”

In essence the BA is expected to do everything that a CEO or a leader is expected to do, and he has one additional handicap – no authority. The handicap reminds me of the ultimate leadership sport – Golf. It is all about handicaps, and you learn to play better than the handicap to win. The BA does precisely the same thing, lead better even without the authority. Truly, a leader without the title.

Imagine if corporates eventually got the BA’s to take on the mantle of a leader and also provide them authority – how much more effective they could be as a leader?

Post by Sanjay Dugar – C2C Director & Principal Consultant