Enhancing the placebo effect of organization development

CEO Morris send me a Whatsapp ; “Hey Allon,  the management meeting this week went exceptionally well. It came up several times that you Allon ask the right questions. Thanks Morrie”. In this particular organization, I had merely interviewed 6  out of the 15 members of the senior management team.

My guess is that some cynics may ask why I even bother writing a post about placebo effects of organization development. Tangible, real  effects of organization development are very real, yet are immune to standard measuring instruments. So why worry about leveraging placebo effects for our very uncertain profession?

The reason for this post is that I do believe that the placeo effect is one of the best medications ever invented. And when the placebo effect is transferred to OD, it can indeed be leveraged to create a perception of change, which serves as a platform for other more tangible changes.

So now to be practical, I want to spell out a few ideas on how to go about creating the placebo effect of an organization development process.

  1. Price your services high. It is easy to be dissatisfied with a consultant who charges $80 an hour; it is much harder to be unhappy who charges quadruple that amount.
  2. If your project is controlled by an HR manager, there is a good chance that few people will want to make the project shine. The HR manager will more often than not try and control the project, which positions OD as a commodity. However, if OD is owned by the CEO, it needs to look good, almost by definition.
  3. Never negotiate fees with Procurement. If fees are negotiated, procurement will made it well known than they “chipped off”  x% of your fee. And that is not very conducive to a service producing a placebo affect.
  4. Avoid long sessions which can be judged as “success” or “failures”. In other words, don’t hand the executioner the rope. Work in smaller, shorter sessions, placing the burden on the client and not on your showmanship,

 

 

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