Tag 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

7 Steps to Effective Change Management

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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