Organization & Leadership Consulting

Why Bother with Organization Development? (Part 1)

A selection of words that describe organization development

“Why bother?” is not only a good question, it is essential. It ought to be asked more often and of more topics than it is. The essence of the question is at the core of organization development itself. The following six (three in Part 1 and three in Part 2) characteristics of O.D., as it is sometimes called, are more than descriptors of the concept, they define a few benefits of the practices involved. This gets at both the “Why bother?” and “Is it worth it?” questions.

Let’s frame it this way: if you want your body to get leaner, stronger, more flexible, and more resilient (as in shorter recovery times) you could hire a personal trainer and see a nutritionist. You would work out self-care plans with them and keep them alongside you until you developed the habits you wanted or achieved the physical condition you needed for that big competition, class reunion, or a long, healthy life. That is what O.D. experts do for organizations. Here are only three of the many benefits available through such a process.

1. You end up with a Clear Set of “What’s best in the long run?” Decisions.

An expert O.D. team will listen closely during several conversations and assessments to help those inside the organization identify root causes, just symptoms. Then they guide a process of prioritizing which corrective actions to take, which unhelpful actions to stop, and which productive actions to leverage. All of this is done with the long term health and growth of the organization and its people in mind. It is not a quick-fix endeavor. At its best, an O.D. consultation restores and rebuilds at foundational levels. As external factors batter away at the organization or company, it stays true to its chosen identity and purpose, adapting its practices without drifting from its mission.

2.  Your People are More Informed, Inspired, and Engaged

“Individuals get things done. Institutions help those things last.” An organization cannot “be” without people. In turn, people cannot “do” much of significance that lasts without an organization to resource them or restore the “thing” as needed. A well-done O.D. process will educate your people as to Why, What, How, etc. in such a way that they are not only better equipped for the tasks at hand, they are better able to work with themselves and others. Much of O.D. is based on solid research from the fields of behavioral science. (Ooh, there is so much more on this that you would find interesting, but this is just a blog.)

3.  Your People Actually Get Better at Doing Their Work

This is not so much about technical skills as it is about getting better at working together. An effective O.D. consultation will deepen your people’s understanding of the differences between leadership and management, structures and systems, mission and vision, values and assumptions, and what in the world is meant by “culture” anyway? Organizational life is about relationships. Between people and people, people and systems, values and actions, beliefs and behaviors, etc. So, O.D. helps with those “Let’s define the relationship” issues.

There, the first three of six definitive benefits clear to come from time spent with experts in what organization development is. Just as your mind and body benefit from time with a personal trainer, nutritionist, or counselor – your company, agency, or non-profit will develop the core strength, flexibility, and nimble balance needed to thrive in a world of unpredictable forces from unforeseen sources.

Whatever your level of complexity or current state of organizational health, TurningWest is equipped and well-conditioned for coming alongside as your guide and coach in the arena of getting better at getting better. 

Contact us at TurningWest to learn more about how organizational culture forms and discuss options in implementing an organization development plan that’s best for your organization.


Leave a Reply