Organization Development (OD) is the scholarship and practice of applied social sciences to cohesive groups of people – organizations, communities, unions and the like. OD professionals tune into and assess an entire social system with an aim to guide and coach it to discover and evolve itself, bringing people-based processes to do so.  To clarify, OD professionals are not hired to fix a system like a doctor or manage it like human resources (HR). We might work with individuals and teams, though usually with ALL of them or those identified as requiring support to fit the organization as it needs and wants to be as a whole.  Those who practice are typically systems thinkers, with a view on how people, process and systems work (or don’t) together. We discover how a system may work against its own interests and support it to evolve to serve those interests instead, not in doing anything to the system but by supporting its development of a more effective way.

We support pursuits like strategy-culture alignment and employee engagement through a variety of aforementioned people processes, including:

  • Strategy development
  • Leadership and management development
  • Team development
  • Coaching and facilitation
  • Conflict resolution
  • Large group interventions
  • Succession planning
  • Talent acquisition, retention and development
  • The list goes on…

…but OD professionals do not typically specialize in a single process. We usually have a capacity for multiple processes. Our specialty is in getting to know the system and what it may need, then figuring out the process to support it through research, drawing from our professional community, and trial and adaptation.

As a coach supports an individual to their own growth and development, so do OD professionals support an organization and all its individuals to its whole growth and development. To do this, we must start by engaging the very top level. If leadership is unwilling to change, there is little hope for the whole system to do so. That is the rub. On the subject of employee engagement, for OD, it isn’t about managing employees to engage; it’s about engaging employees, and we can support leadership and management to develop the capacity to do so effectively. Transformation of an organization requires every single member to develop new capacities. We can support that process, too.

If, as a leader, you are looking to take your organization to a new level or in a different direction, we can support you to evolve your organization, as a whole, to move that way. Call on us via OD professional organizations such as the OD Network or the International Society of Organization and Change as well as higher education such as Benedictine or Case Western Reserve University. You can bring us in as external or internal consultants as we do our best work in autonomy from the system, not tucked in to a department, other than perhaps the C-Suite.

We, Organizational Development professionals, look forward to serving your organization’s strategic development needs.

Be well.

It has been more than a few times that someone from an earlier generation has begun a diatribe on the calamities of a later generation. Each time, I have stopped them with the phrase, “We are from whence we came.”

I cannot experience WWII as my grandparents did simply because they created an experience absent of  World War.  My generation brought forth technology and consumerism which created the experience of more current generations.  In this, we cannot deny the influence each generation has upon the next and all those that come after.

We would do well not to abdicate the role we play as a generation in what we see as the demise of those that come after us.  Quite simply, “We made it possible.”

Most respectfully,

~ Jacqueline

A former colleague shared on Facebook recently an article that seemed to defend the humanities ( http://chronicle.com/article/Beyond-Critical-Thinking/63288/) while challenging the fact that critical-thinking has become erroneously defined as singularly critical.  Then, I attended a symposium and ended up talking with the admirable presenter, an educator, and for all the intelligent conversation we did have, one thing discussed with another colleague struck and disturbed me for which I did not have words to respond at the time. 

The long done erosion of fine arts in schools, what appears to be a need to defend the humanities curriculum in higher education, and then the promotion of competency based training… at the expense of liberal arts in higher education, leaves me fundamentally disturbed.  The comment that started this discussion that ended with this latter observation was “who has ever been asked to deconstruct Beowulf in an interview?”!!! I have to say I was astounded to hear this dialogue between my colleagues whom I admire as intelligent.

I’ll own the fact that I may be biased, having been educated in the arts.  I held concern early on how such an education would translate into the world of employment and was assured that the liberal arts breed true leadership.  They do this because they expose us to a broader purview and to activity that expands the capacity of the brain, that feeds creativity.

Is creativity not tantamount to innovation in the business world?  And I read all over, and truly believe, innovation to be a critical element to success in a global economy.  So why is it that we seem to want to undermine our capacity in this realm?  There is something to everything, so yes community colleges offering competency based education has a definite place, but could it be that through this under-exposure to the arts that we have undermined our societal capacity to conceptualize, think “out of the box”?  Are we now recognizing a need for that which we have bred out through the loss of arts based education?

Just because we do not understand a thing, because we can not recognize immediate value, is it of any less value.  Truly, there is something to everything; though no one thing is the end all, be all in itself.  I propose that under-exposure to the arts has created a kind of prejudice, one that devalues diversity of thinking.  We see it in communication training where the art of conversation has been usurped by one’s ability to form a sound bite that has any chance of being heard.  Our capacity to listen, to hear, to just appreciate something for what it is, to reflect, to share in-depth, to take… time…  Are we literally breeding this out ourselves as a society?  Have we become the society of the “quick fix”?

I witness this in a focus on short-term and short-sighted problem solving, in a reluctance to invest in potential for the long-term, in our need for “specialists” who can fill an immediate skill requirement with no regard to satisfying our human craving for growth.  Technology could allow us more time to spend on one another as humans, but instead it has fed a desire for even we humans to produce better and faster.  Are we set to dehumanize our selves?  Turn ourselves into the robots we seek to create from technology?  Is that it?  In order to create robots in our own image, must we first reduce ourselves to becoming the robots we seek to create?

Take… time… and give someone a hug.  It is so much more than a handshake.

~ Jacqueline