The Real Value Proposition of OD

The real value proposition of OD is not found in the commercialized snake oil products  on the shelf which claim to provide generic models for generic organizational issues… “The 5 step model for Post Merger Integration”, or whatever. These products are the very antithesis of OD.

Here is a short list of what I see as the real value of OD, based on my experience with my own projects, and the hundreds of projects I have supervised.

1) OD provides organizations with excellent diagnostic material. An OD organizational diagnosis is functional, political, dynamic and personal. It is a system, end to end diagnosis. I believe no other profession that provides diagnosis as well as OD.

2) Organizing causes anxiety since organizing means enhanced dependence on others. OD can drastically lessen dependency-based paranoia, enable trust and enhance the probability that the organization can be more flexible and adaptable.

3) No other profession can improve dialogue and communication like OD does.OD provided huge value to work within teams and between teams. OD is a great enabler or cooperation.

4) OD provides great support for good organizations to become better. OD provides a great platform for growth.

5) Great OD provides an eclectic framework for providing context to organizational life, and thus, better adaptive capabilities.

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2 thoughts on “The Real Value Proposition of OD

  1. Alon,

    I’m not so sure that many of these are snake oil products so much as “change management” (CM) templates. OD consultants intervene before the decision to change has been made, whereas change managers enter the change process at a point more downstream, after a particular decision has been made.

    Didn’t CM arise out of large scale implementation of widely sold business system software? A mean view of CM might characterize it as the consulting version of “gavage” — massaging feed down the throats of geese whose enlarged livers are destined for fois gras.

    At some point though, the impact of business process software on the people using it will have been pretty much covered. It seems to me, at that point, that use of CM routines make some sense.

    As it is, CM seems to be out marketing OD, which is disturbing.

  2. Plus, Chuck, you can’t “manage” change, you can only facilitate it.

    Entering the process at the “management” point means forcing it down people’s throats when they’ve had no part in developing the change process – a guaranteed recipe for failure.

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