OD in the age of Corona

Luckily I have been fully employed since the corona  shutdown was lifted; some economic activity has returned, albeit certainly not to “Normal,” RIP.

Managers are rethinking every aspect of work that is humanly possible in order to survive: cost cutting, downsizing, choppy choppy and hacky-hacky, eliminating layers of management, redesigning work-space and dealing with health and safety regulations. The work domain is an absolute nightmare.

On the way home from north of Israel to home (Tel Aviv) last week after a day of work, I closed down my Audible book (on the life of Disraeli) and pondered  how has OD challenged itself recently vis a vis its skill set, relevance, diagnostic techniques and methods of intervention, to adapt itself to survive.  Whilst there is a lot of great stuff going on about telecommuting and trust building in a virtual environment , it is but a small component of the need for reinventing OD for the current environment.

In what ways does OD need to be re-invented? By the time I answered  this question,I was already half-way home. The answer I gave myself (as I passed by Nazareth) was that we need to be faster, more short term focused, less non-directive and far more creative, shaking off values which hold us back from being relevant.

This is a tall order for a profession so enamored by its past, that it fails to introspect and acknowledge the relevance of some Oriental values (such as discretion) over Occidental values (authenticity)  in global organizations.

I got home, went up to get my bathing suit which I had typically forgotten, and headed off to swim, just before the misguided Israeli government closed our pools, only to reopen them the next day.



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8 thoughts on “OD in the age of Corona

  1. That’s not OD anyway and should not be expected in the absence of resources or its relative availability when OD could be considered. Survival is a more essential Ned than development. Let’s just be with the client in a humanitarian and yet fact based anchorage. The relationship is likely to be valued. With only imagination of the future long range planned or multi system interdependencies are not easy to commit to.

  2. Thanks for the update, Allon. It’s good that you are busy and feeling well.

    I think there is a lot of scrambling (thanks Fred) over here too as businesses, schools and other organizations try to figure out how to cope with the virus. I also see the “hack and chop” that you colorfully refer to, as my business (an outplacement firm) sees a dramatic increase in clients.

  3. I also notice that for firms who had “planned to address someday” digital transformation – someday is today. Remote working with all the IT security that entails, as well as major pushes towards automation of customer service and knowledge access – both internally and for customers have suddenly become all the rage. I agree Allon that a shorter term and more directive focus is needed, although without giving up a long term one, they should compliment each other, and with the uncertainty we face going forward, the longer term plans may have to be revised and changed more often that we would like. Within it all I agree with Joseph that we must not lose sight of our shared humanity and underlying commonalities. Was just reminded of that by an article about Victor Frankl I read earlier this morning.

  4. Hi Allon and everyone,
    I returned to work as a contractor a year ago. I’m working part time and remotely for a new startup law firm that specializes in business reorganization and litigation. they are busy and so am I.

    Lots of OD work in addition to skills training.

    What sets me apart is willing to work part time and 25 years experience in a niche –law firms.

    I love what I am doing and the firm values what I have to offer.

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