Consulting tool kits and pre-packaged OD procedures

In my long career, I have dealt organizational due diligence pre- merger & post-merger integration; I help organizations bridge enormous cultural diversity (not just colour/race). I have done an enormous amount of work on new product introduction, together with research, development, engineering and operation departments. For years I consulted chefs in 3  international hotel chains, and with captains in the merchant marines. I have done OD in the military, police organizations and government. I have vast experience consulting to financial services and legal firms. Yeanu, (which means in Arabic, in other words), I have been around the block.

OD has hundreds of tool kits and products. Some of them I know well, some of them I master and there is probably not a tool around I have not read about.

In all my consulting work, in all professional domains and situations, I never found one of these tools useful. I always felt they hindered me. When I was younger, I used to throw lots of tools in to the back seat of my car, or travel half way around the world, lugging them with me. I rarely used anything. When I used them, I felt unnatural and cumbersome.

For me, OD is not about tools or pre packaged procedures. OD is an art of applying a breadth of experience, eclecticism, working bottom up to tailor make a solution in every single situation. Like a snow flake, every organization and every managerial situation is very different. OD when well practiced, is not scalable.

I believe that all these tools kits and pre defined procedures  (which are, in essence, so called knowledge management of OD) have been extremely negatively disruptive to our art. These tools have created what used to be called door-to-door brush salesmen, totally incognizant of what the profession is all about.

At any given time, I supervise about 6 consultants world wide. I never teach tools. In all my supervision, I rarely refer my students to tools. I encourage my students to read, to acquire content domain savvy, and to practice being eclectic.

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4 thoughts on “Consulting tool kits and pre-packaged OD procedures

  1. Allon,

    Right on! Not enough practitioners realize that OD is an art form and all the tools in the world will not help any organization fully function well. As you know, I work from an Appreciative Inquiry framing which requires an even higher level of being an artist and trusting my abilities and the process.


  2. Allon:

    I appreciate your sentiments about many so-called OD “tools” and I agree that we have to craft solutions to fit the problem at hand. However, I would argue that we use tools for that task, too. Is not analysis a tool? And diagnosis? Are not the diagrams we draw tools? So, while I agree that many “canned” OD “tools” are not very useful, I’m not ready to agree that competent OD practitioners don’t need or make use of tools.

  3. The foundation of OD: no action without research, no research without action. Yet, the problem with many OD tools is that they are based on imbedded pre-suppostions, ones that require mindfulness for appropriate application.

  4. אין לך מושג כמה זה משחרר לשמוע את הדברים האלה, בטח כיועץ צעיר שמוקף בארגזי כלים, סקרים ומודלים בשקל….

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