Dysfunction drive organizations to seek out OD consultants.
When the organization is aware of the dysfunction it wants to address, it can chose the right consultant, all things being equal.
Many times however, an organization is blinded by its own dysfunction, and thus chooses a consultant who strengthens the very dysfunction that needs to be addressed.
Three examples will suffice:
1-An engineering manager who is extraordinarily over-systematic and orderly believes that certain events are slipping through the cracks of his system i.e., his systems of control is not perfect. As a result, many product releases slip. He interviews 4 consultants and chooses a consultant who sells yet another system of control.
2-A company’s culture emphasizes risk taking, passion to win, and “doing everything needed” to get the job done. The company recently developed a global presence where these aforementioned cultural values are not useful. The company hires a passionate, aggressive consultant, who promised to “fight to the finish” to achieve the wall to wall internalization of the culture, in 6 months.
3-A company which places a huge value on internal PR and being highly fashionable, has realized that its staff is talking, but not walking the talk. A leading, well branded international consulting firm is hired, a firm which does not have a clue about the local market. Yet local press extols the extent that company management is willing to make an effort to engage it staff.
How can this bias be overcome?
1) Formulate a written and vividly descriptive problem statement about what issue is it that needs to be solved.
2) Have two or three unrelated groups take this problem statement and describe the skill set of the sought-after consultant.
3) Ensure that decision makers are the not only the “ priests” of the corporate culture, such as HR and Training, but also include more rank and file types.