What can’t OD do?

Because of the competition in the consulting domain and the free for all between coaching, change management and OD, at times everyone claims that they can do everything.

I have 36 years experience;  I certainly do not think believe that OD practitioner can do all the things that we claim to be able to  do.

Here is a short list of what I think we cannot do:

1) OD cannot change culture. OD can midwife this part of this change via facilitation, but OD cannot “change” a culture. Nor can we forge a new culture- post merger. By and large, this is a Darwinist process. We can mitigate some of the Darwinism, but Darwinism is more powerful than OD.

2) OD cannot drastically upgrade the functioning of an incompetent manager. Coaching claims to be able to do so, but I feel this is not an accurate representation of what coaching (whatever that is) can do.

3) OD practitioners generally cannot work well with other consulting professions in a team. Although we preach team work, our own level of teamwork is often poor, since OD practitioners are too paranoid about their space, because they lack confidence about their real added value.

4) OD can not lead a strategic process single handed. OD has massive  value in supporting strategic planning and change, but  we lack the business skills to lead the process single handed. (However, neither can BD or Strategic Planning)

5) OD (as practiced in the Western world) is irrelevant in dealing with cultures where “face saving” and “discretion” is more important than authenticity and transparency. OD has a built in western bias, which it force feeds on Asian and Mid East clients, to our detriment.

There is  lots of good stuff we do, but posts need to be kept short. 😉

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