There is something to be said for HR having become a business partner.
Business partnership means understanding the context in which HR is operating in order to better promote the interests of the HR role and profession.That should not mean that HR becomes the sycophant and execution squad of management. It should not mean that business decisions are made and HR cleans up after the parade.
As Gloria Ramsbottom’s blog illustrates (ramsbottom-lemieux.blogspot.co.il),far too often HR has become the oil that greases the machine of grinding obedience fueled by a lack of values.
Similarly, OD practitioners can no longer do interventions which are purely developmental in nature, driven only by spiritualism or humanism.
OD practitioners have needed to understand the business domain in which they operate in order to create interventions that create value.
Yet the value I am referring to is not the value that finds its way into the OD practitioners pocket.
I am referring to value for the clients’ ability to factor in the human element to create alignment between the business and the people, without which the organizations fails. OD needs to understand and drive the synergy between the business environment, the community that it resides and the persons that it employs. Business must understand the synergy between these, and recognize that its employees are valuable assets that must be nurtured.
In the crushing market since 2008 and faced with massive competition, OD has joined HR in creating business partnership to the detriment of the profession.
OD wisdom has been replaced with products, truth to power has been replaced with kissing management’s ass, correct has been replaced with politically correct and authentic has been replaced with civil.
This has created a blur between OD, change management technicians and business consultants. In this overlap, OD loses more ground daily. We are no longer even aware of our value proposition. We are losing our vocabulary. We have overly adaptive to the point of using terms like human asset management and developing matrices to measure ROI in “human asset value”.