Introduction to Organizational Development Pt. 1

Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.
–Bruce Lee

Organizational Development (OD) is a practice that has been gaining momentum over the last few years. Defined as “a process that applies a broad range of behavioral science knowledge and practices to help organizations build their capacity to change and to achieve greater effectiveness, including increased financial performance, customer satisfaction, and organization member engagement,” it is an approach that requires a high level of adaptability in order to be successful. Practitioners apply a broad range of research and analysis techniques to stage appropriate interventions and counsel to guide companies towards their goals.

Organizational Development is highly evidence based. Considering what the evidence shows, practitioners must be flexible. If decisions prove ineffective they have to be able to pivot without bias; if effective they must be able to hold the course. OD practitioners are constantly analyzing market trends and finding those that will have an effect on the specific industry they are working with. However, they are also looking at all the different aspects and inner workings of the company itself. Never failing to consider how each individual part affects the whole, and that everything is interlinked, practitioners look at not only the organizational structure but also the human element of the company. One cannot solve a problem without understanding how other parts of the organization are contributing to the problem.

Moving out of linear progression, Organizational Development is more cyclical, fluid in approach. Instead of following a designated path, practitioners go into the process with an encyclopedia of different strategies, which are applied based circumstantially. Adaptability, and a diversified tool belt allow them to bring effective consultation to overcome a wide range of hindrances. Now that we have discussed the general theory of OD and the OD practitioner, next week we will be diving into a deeper discussion of how the process is applied and how it facilitates success.