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Organizational Development Credibility

How to enhance the credibility of OD in your organization.

Many people who are skilled in Organizational Development are very comfortable with the theories, terminology and processes associated with OD interventions. We happily talk about concepts like 'action learning,' 'appreciative inquiry', 'group dynamics', 'performance improvement', 'systems thinking', 'T-groups', ' changing cognitive frames', 'strengths based leadership', and so on.

WHY OD suffers a credibility problem in some organizations

Many of the operational leaders in an organization, who need what OD offers, get frustrated, and confused listening to organizational development speak. In many cases they become impatient with the OD or HR department. Because they  don't understand what OD people are saying, they feel that HR or OD don't understand their business. Many OD leaders complain that they have no credibility in the business.

What customers of OD want.

At a team level your customers are operational and team leaders. What they are looking for, is a quick and simple solution to a problem they are experiencing with their team. Often they will only give you a few hours to work with their team - at a meeting, conference or workshop.

What an OD or HR professional should do to build credibility with operational leaders.

So where do you start? And how do you solve a operational  or team leader's  problem quickly, and simply.

Step 1. Understand the leader's problem.

Ask the leader the following questions:

  • If you could achieve one thing this year, that you would be proud of as a leader, what would it be?
  • What do you want your team to achieve this year?
  • What could prevent you and your team from achieving that goal?
  • What frustrates you?
  • What would help you most right now?

Step 2. Develop a specific goal.

Your goal should state what you can achieve, as a first step towards helping the leader to solve his/her problem or achieve his/her goal. Communicate your goal in simple English. E.g. the goal could be:

  • To build the team - after a merger, a restructure, or the formation of a new project team.
  • To get the team to think differently about the future. To get the team to understand what they need to do differently to support the organization's new vision, strategy, values, culture or project.
  • To create a new role for the team. To get the team to rethink the roles and responsibilities they need to play to support the new vision, strategy or project.
  • To get the team to be more creative and identify new opportunities to delight their customers.
  • To rebuild morale after a restructure…

Step 3. Choose the interventions you will use.

From our OD interventions library, choose a number of interventions that you can use to achieve your goal.

Step 4. Negotiate the time you have available to work with the team.

Often the team leader will already have a meeting, workshop or conference arranged with his/her team. Agree with him/her, how many hours you will have to work with his/her team. Depending on the number of hours you have, choose how many interventions you can do in the allotted time.

Step 5. Pin the interventions you will use to your personal member pin board.

If you don't know if you will have access to the internet at your venue, then print out the interventions you will use. Each intervention contains:

  • A specific  goal.
  • Who the intervention is for.
  • Time required.
  • Materials you need to use.
  • A detailed activity you can use with your group.

See an example of how simple it is to follow our interventions in$team-identity.html

Step 6. Collect the materials

Buy or collect the materials you need to use during the intervention.

Step 7. Enjoy your time together with the group.

Arrive at your meeting, workshop or conference with your materials and a printed copy of the OD intervention, or your tablet or laptop computer plus internet access. Get into a relaxed mood. Then trust the intervention and enjoy your time with the group.

Step 8. Enjoy your increased credibility with the operational or team leader.

Once the leader has experienced how practical your activities are, and how much the group is able to achieve in a short space of time, he will trust you. He will start giving you more and more time with his team, to do more and more organizational development interventions.

This will pin this article to the community board for guests or to your own private board for members who are logged in.

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