Organisation Development

by Rosie Stevens

Key elements of an OD strategy

The key elements of the strategy will vary from one organisation to another and will depend on the outcomes and information gleaned from the diagnosis, but, essentially, there is a suggested ‘checklist’ of work laid out below:

  • Diagnosis
  • Development/refinement of the organisational purpose (if not already very clear)
  • Development of a robust vision
  • Development of organisational values
  • Identification of the type of organisational culture needed to deliver the above.

Then, leading on immediately from the above, the next stage is to consider the structures that may be needed or that may need to change or be further developed to deliver the organisation’s purpose, vision, goals and projected outcomes. These may be organisational, managerial, functional, departmental, team or resourcing structures and mechanisms.

To develop the capability/potential of both the organisation and the people within it, the OD consultant then needs to consider the following questions, with regard to each of the elements listed above:

  • How is it going to be developed and by whom?
  • Who is going to be involved? How?
  • How is the organisation going to consult across the organisation and give people the opportunity to participate at each stage?
  • How are people going to be involved in reviewing and evaluating impact and progress?
Key point

There is very little that is more significant and damaging than developing an OD strategy and plans in isolation and without consultation and participation, given that a substantial chunk of the focus is on involving and developing people, and enabling them to contribute to the development and performance of the organisation.

  • What approach is needed to change management? What key elements or strands should there be to a new or revised change strategy, both in terms of the organisation’s development and delivery of vision, values, goals and performance/services/products and in terms of the development of leaders, teams and people?
  • Given the above, and the outcomes and information from the diagnosis, what is needed from a communication strategy, including a recommended organisational approach to involvement and participation?
  • What leadership ethos and style does the organisation currently have? How does that need to develop/change?
  • What should be the top team development strategy and planned interventions? This normally refers to the board and/or executive team.
  • Leadership development strategy? (ditto above)
  • What does the learning and development strategy need to cover and address?
  • How is people’s performance managed? How consistent is the approach? Are there effective performance management, appraisal and people development strategies in place? Do they need to be further developed/changed following the diagnosis?
  • What desired/appropriate leadership behaviours/core competencies/competency framework or articulation of behaviours are required at every level of the organisation? How have they been defined and communicated? How are they measured and monitored? What needs to be further developed/included in the other strategies?
  • Do HR policies and strategies reflect the desired culture and will they support it?
  • What is the talent management strategy (if only informal)? What are the recruitment, retention, promotion strategies and do they fit with the desired culture?
  • What are the organisation’s main systems and processes? How can the organisation ensure they are consistent with the desired culture and delivery of purpose and vision? What (if any) workstreams need to be set up to address incongruities/inconsistencies in systems and processes in terms of organisational purpose, vision, values, direction, culture and future development? How are resources managed and allocated in line with the organisation’s needs? What additional resources (or what re-allocation of resources) will be needed to develop and align the organisation in line with its strategic goals and new OD strategy?

This is by no means an exhaustive list and some very radical ideas for change may emerge from your diagnosis. The key thing, as stated at the beginning of this section, is that, as well as having an organisational, planned and supported change effort in the form of a formal OD strategy, people should be actively and continuously involved and empowered, as far as is possible, to develop their own ideas and ways of working within the frameworks above and should feel that they have had the opportunity to contribute fully, both to the diagnosis and to the emerging strategy development.