Organisational Development OD

Today’s organisations operate in a rapidly changing environment. As a consequence, one of the most important assets for an organisation is its ability to manage change - and for its people to remain healthy and authentic.
Consider the following definitions of OD:


What is OD?

“Organisational Development is the attempt to influence the members of an organisation to expand their candidness with each other about their views of the organisation and their experience in it, and to take greater responsibility for their own actions as members of that organisation.
The assumption behind OD is that when people pursue both of these objectives simultaneously, they are likely to discover new ways of working together that they will perceive as more effective for achieving their own and their shared (organisational) goals.
When not, the engagement in such activity helps them to understand why not and will lead them to make meaningful choices about what to do given such understanding.”

“OD is the system-wide implementation of behavioural knowledge to plan the development and reinforcement of organisational strategies, structures and processes for improving an organisation’s effectiveness.”

“OD is the whole of the knowledge and practice that enhances organisational performance and individual development, when considering the organisation as a complex system of systems that exists within a larger system, each of which has its own attributes and degree of alignment.
OD interventions in these systems will include methodologies and approaches to strategic planning, organisational design, leadership development, change management, performance management, coaching, diversity, and work / life balance.”

OD is “an organisation-wide project, planned and managed from the top, to enhance organisational effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organisation’s processes, using behavioural knowledge.”
In essence, OD is a planned system of change.

  • Planned. OD takes a long-term approach to improving organisational performance and efficiency. It avoids the (usual) “quick-fix”.
  • Organisation-wide. OD focuses on the total system.
  • Managed from the top. To be effective, OD must have the full support of top management. They would have to model it, not just espouse it. The OD process also needs the workers to buy-into and grant it ownership throughout the organisation.
  • Increase organisational effectiveness and health. OD is linked to the bottom-line profit. Its goal is to improve the organisation, to make it more efficient and more competitive by aligning the organisation’s systems with its people.
  • Planned interventions. Following proper preparation, OD uses activities called interventions to trigger system-wide, permanent changes in the organisation.
  • Using behavioural knowledge OD is a discipline that combines research and experience to learn to understand the people, their business systems and their interactions.


Usually one thinks of OD only in terms of the interventions themselves. These activities are only the most visible part of a complex process, to put some perspective and unity into the myriad of OD tools that are used in business today. Such activities will include Total Quality Management (an evolutionary approach to improving an organisation) and business process re-engineering (a more revolutionary approach). Dozens more interventions exist, e.g. strategic planning and team building. Critical it is to select appropriate intervention(s), and this can only be done by proper preparation.


Why do OD?

  • On Human Resource:
    Human resource - the people – will make a large fraction of the costs of doing business. Certainly people will make the difference between organisational success and failure.
    Hence we better know how to best manage them.
  • Changing the nature of the workplace.
    Today our workers want feedback about their performance, a sense of accomplishment, feelings of value and worth, and commitment to social responsibility.
    They need to be efficient, maybe improve their time management.
    And, of course, if we are to continue, do more, work with fewer people, need to make the processes more efficient.
  • Global markets.
    Environments change, thus for survival and prosperity organisations must also change.
    One needs to be more responsible and to develop closer partnerships with our customers and suppliers.
    One must change in order to to survive, and one argues that one must attack problems, not symptoms, in a systematic, planned and humane manner.
  • Accelerated rate of change.
    Taking an open-systems approach, one may easily identify competition at an international scale for people, capital, resource, knowledge and information.


Who does OD?

To be successful, OD must have the buying-in, ownership, and involvement of all stakeholders, not just of the employees throughout the organisation. OD is usually facilitated by change agents - people or teams that take responsibility for initiating and managing the change effort. Such change agents may be either employees of the organisation (internal consultants) or people from outside the organisation (external consultants).

Effective change demands leadership by knowledge, and a track record in change management.
Reddin strongly recommends that external or internal consultants be used, preferably a combination of both (“These people are professionals; don’t try this at home.”).


When is an organization ready for OD?

There is a formula, which one may use to decide if an organisation is ready for change:

Dissatisfaction x Vision x First Steps > Resistance to Change

Thus meaning that three component parts must all be found present to overcome resistance to change in an organisation:
Dissatisfaction with the present situation,
a vision of what is possible in the future, and
achievable first steps towards reaching this vision.
If any of the three is zero or near zero, the product will also be zero or near zero and the resistance to change will dominate.
One uses this model as an easy and quick diagnostic aid to decide if substantial change is at all possible.
OD can bring about approaches to the organisation that will enable these three components to surface, thus we can begin the process of change.
Is your Organisation frozen?
If ones organisation is struggling to gain competitive advantage, solidify its business strategy, straighten up its market¬place priorities or simply to make a predictable toppling profit, one is in danger of losing ground while your compe¬tition builds momentum and true value.

Reddin works with a broad range of organisations in various stages of growth and profitability.
Our focus is in helping small and mid-sized companies develop powerful and predictable top-line profit and the value that should (but often doesn't) go with that profitability. Reddin expertise builds organisations designed to support the owners business and profitability strategies and to accelerate sustainable growth and embedded value.
As a result Reddin is involved from boardroom to shop floor; strategy to execution, start-up to exit.

In Reddin years of experience and track record in consulting with companies from start-up to Fortune 500, they have often run across companies one refers to as ‘frozen’ - organisations that may have hit the wall, that are locked in a state of indecision, false starts and frequent changes of direction in their quest for growth and profitability.
Executive teams are often unable to reach consensus about where the company is heading for or have trouble deciding how to best leverage their products or services. Often they have an unclear picture of their market and the best path to sustainable profitability and the value they had in mind when the business was first started.
This results in confusion, frustration and inevitable mistakes in positioning and execution.
Mean¬while, astute competitors continue to move forward, putting these companies at a disadvantage and steadily widening the profit gap between them.

There can be many a reason why organisations become ‘frozen’, inclusive of change in the management team, significant new products or solutions introduced by competitors or simple dissatisfaction with the organisation's growth or market penetration.
Often, the management team has simply run out of ideas or the organisation has grown past their ‘managerial comfort zones’.

Regardless of the reasons why, the unfortu¬nate outcome tends to be one of the following scenarios:

  • Efforts that have worked well in the past are repeated but do not yield desired results,
  • Owners feel frustrated that they have little to show for all the hard work and see no way out,
  • Profit is unsustainable and certainly not predictable - value not measurable.

Anyone of these possible outcomes and many more, can slow down and even halt the forward momentum of an organisation bogged down in this ‘frozen’ state. That is why it is imperative for the executive team to take im¬mediate steps to get the organisation back on track.
 

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