“Signal to Noise” ratio OD

Signal-to-noise ratio is a scientific measure which compares the level of a pure signal with the level of background noise, expressed in decibels.

I will use “noise to signal ratio” in this post to describe the amount of background noise generated in the organizational domain in which OD is done, as opposed to the OD work itself.

The level of political driven  noise involved has grown over the past years, and at present ,the level of noise is so high it is punishing.

I love doing OD and any burn out I may feel is caused by the noise, not by the OD itself.

Here is a list of major noise generating factors in OD:

1) The HR gateway into organizations, staffed by people like Gloria Ramsbottom, the HR manager we know all too well.

2) The number of coaches, cooking workshops, team building via rope climbing, etc which purport to do organizational development have rendered building a trusting relationship with clients into a steep uphill run.

3) The huge damage done by hacks who have chopped  OD into “products” has forced  OD into a vendor status, at least at the beginning of the relationship.The vendor needs to “please the client”, not to do what needs to be done. Now…..fixing this is OD work, but the low pegging of the vendor status creates horrific noise.

4) Since 2008, no one looks very good; management is hooked on quick fixes, in order to look “less bad” a.s.a.p. This causes huge noise as HR prompted by management pushes for short cuts  to look good and feel wow.

5) In many organizations, there are 4-5 consultants on the same playing field, which leads to lack of change and internecine conflict between consultants.

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One thought on ““Signal to Noise” ratio OD

  1. Yes. . . It adds up to ‘Sound Bite OD’ or ‘Drive-By OD’.
    Another outcome is a saturated market full of former OD consultants having to pander to gate-keepers like your Gloria Ramsbottom to sell tiny make-no-real-change programs that allow HR or Training to ‘tick the box’ and pretend to be doing something meaningful.
    BUT. . . BUT. . . In the midst of all that, there ARE a handful of truly wise HR gatekeepers who partner with their CEOs to invite interventions that make a difference. I wake up every day grateful to have them in my life. . .

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