Planning an OD intervention on an interface between functions

The interface between functions (marketing and sales; R&D and service; finance and HR) and the interface between people (Jack and Jill) is the domain to which Organization Development brings more added value than any other profession.

OD certainly has practitioners who want to change the world-but that desire to inspire change is just an illusion de grandeur, especially since OD practitioners shun the use of force and do not share values with most of the planet. Hell, it even hard for us to create a change in culture, and in this link I explain why.

Yet the interface between people and functions is our major domain expertise. In this short post, I want to spell out how initially to look at interfaces between functions and people. I start by asking

  1. How is the interface\relationship impacted by differences in culture, competence and power allocation?
  2. What are the goals of each side, and far more important, what are the shared goals of each side?
  3. How will each partner be judged if the other succeeds\fails?
  4. What impacts the mutual trust?
  5. How does the organization gain by their NON cooperation?

After diagnosing the above, the next steps are:

  1.  At what level to I need to intervene?
  2.  What will success look like?
  3.  How do I garner support before I start the work, by negotiating the consequence of success \ failure?
  4.  Then, and only then, do I plan the intervention tactically.







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9 thoughts on “Planning an OD intervention on an interface between functions

  1. Teased out so pithily. Thanks for sharing. Am reminded of Huggy Rao here. Generosity breeds Curiosity. Generosity and Curiosity breed Felt Accountability. Does that work across cultures? Or would you have a take on that too? Another way to ask that would be (assuming your sharing is a form of generosity):

    What in sharing on OD do you enjoy? Whom does your sharing benefit?

    • I enjoy teaching what I have learnt over the years.
      The act of giving without expecting return.
      I was too busy all my life to do so.
      I am lucky that the blog also generates me business, which keeps me busy at my age.

  2. Allon, I’ve kept this open on my laptop since you first posted it as a sound reminder to me of what matters at the interface between people and functions/organisations. I’m currently engaged in such interface work with two different organisation – one a government dept, the other a public body. This has been a timely and valuable prod! thanks, as always, Pauline

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