Dec 12, 2006

Organization Development - path forward

Terry posts some thoughts on what skills/talents OD people need and Don Blohowiak posts a deeper fundamental question.

I agree with Don's diagnosis. OD people are too much 'specialists' that they cannot articulate benefits of their work in business terms. Unlike HR disciplines, whose outcomes are either tangible (Recruitment and Compensation, for example) or agreed by common wisdom(Employee Relations and Performance Management), the benefits of OD have never been championed by any business leader.

For me the central value of OD is to make an organization confront itself and its reality. The ability to continually question assumptions and to make a culture that puts an emphasis on both the individual and the organization.

Some of the biggest thinkers in leadership and management today are talking about such issues. But they are not OD folks. Folks like Ram Charan and Marcus Buckingham are saying what OD professionals have been trying to say all these years. Namely, that structures and processes of business have to come after people. And that business cannot engage people, unless it values them.

However they are saying it in the language of the business. That is what most OD professionals have to learn, IMHO.

You might have heard of the following thinkers also. Yes, they are OD professionals who pioneered the field.

Edgar Schein.
Peter Block.
Chris Argyris.