In today’s operating climate and wider socio-economic and political environments, if there was ever a time to get clued up about OD -
Modern HR professionals will have realised the benefits of OD and sought out relevant personal development. An HR department that is wise to the power of OD is a pivotal, progressive and more sustainable application to meeting your business objectives.
The history of the HR profession has meant that we currently have a generation of people whose understanding of how to bring about change in their organisation, has never been seen as central to the functions of HR.
HR didn’t have much visibility until the ‘90s. Major restructures prompted by globalisation and outsourcing hadn’t gone well in terms of people and so a need for HR became recognised.
Historically speaking, those involved in OD were typically not HR people. OD practitioners would usually occupy the areas of strategy, anthropology or system engineering.
Awareness started to build around the importance of staff engagement and how businesses need to think about what’s happening across the organisation that might be affecting morale and contributing to low productivity, for example.
OD reviews the constituent parts of the organisation, how they relate to each other and then create the conditions for improvement. OD practitioners will do this in a directional way, considering all the interfaces in the system and embedded tools for the organic and continued growth of the organisation as a whole.
OD is about helping staff develop new understandings, new behaviours, new ways of relating to each other and the organisation. It’s critical that they see themselves as an integral part of the organisations success.
This approach has a knock-on effect on the work and the people delivering that work. It recognises all the parts of the system from stakeholders and executives, to operational staff and in some cases, the public.
In an economy with political uncertainties, OD pulls in things like business strategy, the environment, the general pressures on organisations and adapting to new technologies. It’s these elements that mean that OD is on-going – if you’re doing it.
If you know you already do OD, then you know it is a never-ending process; the situation keeps changing and any solution to a problem creates a new challenge. The beauty is that at the core of OD is enquiry and engagement and this is exactly how the OD practitioner will naturally create learning while the organisation continues to perform.
As leaders face increasingly more complex demands, OD addresses the need for effective human development, better networked businesses and organisations that are organically and sustainably able to grow.