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Organizational Development

“Growing a culture requires a good storyteller. Changing a culture requires a persuasive editor.” 
― Ryan Lilly

Organizational Development is the implementation of a series of well-planned strategies aimed at system wide improvement.  The term has become synonymous with change or process improvement generally in organizations that have a problem.  However, if the ultimate goal is to maximize and maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization, organizational development should be treated as preventative maintenance for the organization as opposed to a tool used only when there is a problem.

Approaching organizational development as a continuous improvement process acknowledges the fluctuating nature of human beings, groups and organizations. Organizations are continuously evolving and influenced not only by varying internal variables such as people and revenues; but also by shifting external variables such as the economy and politics including regulatory and legislative issues and rapidly changing technology.

Organizational development as an ongoing improvement mechanism, not just a one-time change mechanism, is contingent upon establishing a strong strategic planning process with a clear mission, vision, and annual goals supplemented with performance criteria or measurements to accurately assess the current state of the organization.

One of the most authoritative books on managing organizations is related to the concept of “Situational Leadership”, Management of Organizational Behavior (9th Edition)" by Paul H. Hersey, Kenneth H. Blanchard and Dewey E. Johnson (Sep 15, 2007), which recognizes that individuals and thus organizations are fluid.  In a fluid environment, leadership development is critical for continuous organizational improvement. 

For continuous process improvement ensuring goals are achieved effectively and efficiently, leaders must

  • Create an inclusive environment which encourages participation in the process to minimize resistance.
  • Make sure all employees understand and support the organization’s mission and goals.
  • Structure the organization to maximize goal achievement by eliminating duplication of effort, equitably rewarding creative productivity and balancing the work load.
  • Build collaborative teams and relationships between units that sustain, encourage and enhance performance successfully accomplishing goals.

The Organizational Development/Improvement Process provides the analysis and solutions to allow leaders to manage organizations effectively and efficiently.  The essential steps involved in the improvement process resemble basic problem solving: define the problem, generate solutions, evaluate the solutions and then implement the best solution.  However, an effective organizational improvement process goes beyond simple problem solving; it is about leading an organization effectively through the improvement process by creating a learning environment which fosters continuous individual improvement which drives the organization toward a higher performance level.

Organization development enables the organization to achieve its goals at a much faster rate with less waste.  It is accomplished with the development of a solid strategic plan, effective human resource management and strong leadership which creates an environment enabling employees to perform better while responding positively to changes in the work environment. 

Dr. Oel Wingo, Ph.D., Oel Wingo Management Consulting Services