OD as a “Mature Commodity”-and how to deal with it

Last week, I got a call from someone who asked me if I would like to “bid” for series of 3 workshops on post merger integration, which is one of my specialties.

She said, “I have heard that you know what you are doing, but please make sure that your bid is cost effective”. That was the gist of our short call.

This illustrates the bizarre and tragic productization of OD interventions:

1 Because “cost” rules as the “product” is seen as mature,the wrong service  is “ordered” in the wrong way.

2 The vendor ( OD) is blocked from influencing the definition of the problem and the proposed intervention because a “solution” in already being procured.

3 The client trades off a  (non existing) “product” with a cost to make a balanced decision. Neither parameter is the most relevant for the type of service that is needed.

This pitiful dynamic has developed an inevitable derivative of large consulting firms creating profit by providing new college graduates with a set of so-called products (and a slide pack to make it happen). The large vendor “clips the coupon” of repeatable scalable OD productized interventions.

The clients’ life is also made easy: the OD product is easy-to-understand, and comparable to other products of its kind. And any Gloria can manage the procurement process.

The only problem is that OD is not a product, and the provided product is a sham.

The best way to deal with this is to stick your guns. Be patient. If you know what you are doing, patience pays off.  A lot of my work has been procured when an OD product failed. When the gateway into the organization is procurement or  training, my suggestion is to back off and turn work down. Refrain from food fights with procurement, hoping to improve things later. Remain professional. stick to your standards, and do good work. The good work you do will get you more work.

Follow me @AllonShevat

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