Certainly at this point, no one knows jack shit about what is in store for organization development if and when the current plague subsides. That reminds me of what a client of mine (who dabbled in politics at a senior level) told me..” The public generally does not know two basic things-what will happen, and what actually happened.”.
Nevertheless, in this brief article, I want to suggest a framework for approaching our professions’ continued survival, as well as put out my neck and predict some shattering developments.
No one has a clue what will happen to organizations/the act of organizing if and when society crawls out of this black hole called corona. It makes no sense to guess if people will work from home or return to the work-place. It makes no sense to predict trends and support possible ways of recovery-unless you get your kicks that way. What does make sense is to own the fact that no one knows anything. Because that is one of the strengths of OD-coping with ambiguity.
As the new organizational reality and changes are conceived, we will not be in the bedroom. At best, we will be the midwife. The changes will be foisted upon us by economic reality, political change and changes in belief systems. Organization development will be able to ease this process along, by avoiding any arrogance of trying to re-mold a new order.
My friend Robin Cook wrote me that “no OD practitioner worthy of the title would dare to try to impose his or her solutions”. This is true to some extent, but the values that OD espouses do impose value loaded solutions in a passive aggressive way. Many of our core values will have to change as the world resets. OD is particularly conservative when it comes to examining our own values. Without such a value reset on our part, OD is doomed to irrelevance.
Allon foolishly sticks out his neck
And now I am going to stick out my neck and share with my readers a few of my assumptions, which may all prove to be wrong, no doubt.
- Organizations will become like jungles than they already were with supply of jobs much smaller than demand. Salaries will tumble. Management will be more authoritarian and demanding.
- CFO’s will call the shots for a very long time.
- Many perks and wellness programs will be abandoned; perhaps the slogans will survive.
- Political correctness will die. Perhaps it will be massacred. No one will forget where and how the virus started, which communities are ill and which are not. Who prepared and who denied? And the results will be ugly.
- Social order will erode big time. The age of repression is at the gates, and this is an ill omen for our profession and its assumptions. If we don’t play our cards right, we are soon to become extinct.
- The lower end of OD (training, empowering middle management, chicken shit products which enable change in one day) will be wiped off the map because many organizations will have no money to waste. Internal OD will be eliminated The only OD practitioners to be left standing will be the best consultants and the false prophets and magicians, the latter always flourishing in very bad times.
“Of course there is,” Brishen said flatly. It had started badly; it turned worse and hinted at becoming ruinous.”