By Paul Nyausaru
In this article I would like to introduce you to fascinating area which is the panacea of development for organisations that wish advance sustainable transformation. Ever heard of organisation development (OD), I hope you got it right, yes organisation development, not organisational development. I will start by defining organisation development and elaborate on the principles that drive it.
Beckhard (1969) defines Organisation Development as “an effort [that is] (1) planned, (2) organisation-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organisation effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organisation’s processes, using behavioral-science knowledge” (p. 9). As can be highlighted in the definition OD looks at the organisation’s effectiveness with top management leading from the top and ensuring the involvement of the different parts of the organisation.
OD is driven by a number of principles but I will however dwell on five.
OD Principle 1: OD is holistic and integrated
OD focuses on the whole system and believes the organisation can be likened to the human body in which every part of it regardless of its size plays an important role in the smooth functioning of the whole body. The same equally applies to the organisation which is made up of different departments with members at different levels on the hierarchical structure. OD believes each and every member of an organisation has a critical role to play and their views should be taken in the running of a successful organisation. How does your organisation fair in this area? Do you believe there is a layer in your organisation that has the ability to think on behalf of the rest? It’s high time you think OD if you are to drive your organisation towards sustainable transformation.
OD Principle 2: Humanistic
OD promotes a humanistic orientation and works on the belief that people generally good and have the capacity and ability to change and develop. OD therefore strongly believes in empowering organisational members for the smooth functioning of the system. Members on an organisation need to be treated as humans rather than machines which have to be operated and function in a predetermined way. The notion that members of the organisation need to be driven for them to be productive is old school and has resulted in many organisations failing to deliver. Empower your members and benefit from drive to produce within them.
OD Principle 3: Co-Creation (Top down- Bottom-down Approach)
OD adopts democracy by promoting decision making and direction setting as a co-creation process which involves both the OD consultant and the client system. It allows for both the leaders and members in managing change. New meaning of things is constructed with all the stakeholders with varied expertise, experience and energy that everyone can contribute and take care of each other’s needs. Such an approach results in ownership of the whole process is bound to achieve desired goals as everyone has a stake in it.
OD Principle 4: Collective Wisdom
OD recognises the collective wisdom of the group and believes that people who have the problem also have the solution to the problem. This means that both the solution and the problem lie within the client system. This then calls for the involvement of all in the client system to identify and resolve the challenges.
OD Principle 5: Client Centred
OD believes that any change effort that brings results should be client center and not consultant centred. The role of the consultant is provide support, educate, facilitate and guide the client system. The consultant does not bring in solutions for the client system just to adopt. Therefore the doctor approach where the consultant comes into the client system with prescribed solutions do not work in bringing sustainable solutions.
Paul Nyausaru is an OD Practitioner and leadership coach. For all your OD interventions and leadership development training you can get in touch with him on whatsapp/call +263774062756 or Email pnyausaru@amanda