Examples of the radical changes needed to renew OD’s relevance

I emerged dejected from a cordial meeting of very smart people on OD’s relevance in face of the massive change and crisis we are all experiencing.

I felt at times like I was in a group of Latin speakers, discussing how to further inculcate the use of Latin in written passports and diplomacy.

Now I have way of being in people’s face and speaking my mind, but I did try to behave until I heard words like “permanency” and “awareness”. Thankfully, one colleague from Missouri noted that the language we used during the meeting was somewhat out of sync. I felt, “thank god I’m not alone”

I decided to try to be positive today about the whole matter. I am recovering from a 3rd corona shot (which is no easy task) and it’s so hot that I dare not venture outside except for taking George outside to “relieve” himself. So I pondered-“what can be done”.

What  OD needs to do now to become relevant. (like yesterday!)

  1. Speed as strategy; whatever we need to do, it needs to be fast. 
  2. Work with clients to ensure that expertise is well positioned and empowered, even if it means less emphasis on teamwork.
  3. Similar to other professions, we need to intervene in order to diagnose. “Take this pill, if it works, then your symptoms are depression. Install this software, and we’ll test it down the road”. Diagnose, intervene measure; freeze unfreeze-are irrelevant. Eg, X is incompetent. Outsource the capability NOW.
  4. Stop standing on the shoulders of the founding fathers. They are old, dead and partially irrelevant. Show respect by breaking with tradition, as they did.
  5. In the army, I learnt that OD is done best before a battle and after. So when necessary, mitigate overdosing on reflection, awareness and activities that hinder short term survival. Yes, short term.
  6. Political survival of key figures, aka-what’s in this for me, becomes a dominant theme in extreme crisis. Factor this into your understanding of what is/needs to be done.





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8 thoughts on “Examples of the radical changes needed to renew OD’s relevance

  1. כן…ולא.
    מסכים אתך שהמקצוע הזה חייב לאמץ דפוסי פעולה הרבה יותר מהירים.
    לשכלל, לייעל להאיץ את דרכי האבחון, כדי לייצר ללקוח פתרונות מהירים וטובים.
    לטעמי הכיוונים צריכים להיות: שימוש הולך וגובר בטכנולוגיה שמאיצה תהליכי אבחון, כמו למשך אבחונים ממוחשבים שמאיצים ובנוסף ניתוח רשתות ארגוניות באמצעים ממוחשבים.
    יחד עם כלים מתחום הפיתוח הארגוני הדיאלוגי שבו שותפים הרבה יותר אנשים לזיהוי בעיות וגיבוש פתרונות.
    יחד עם זאת, לגבי מה שכתבת. כשאתה אומר קח את הכדור הזה, מי שניתן את הכדור מתבסס על הרבה מאוד ידע ומחקרים מהעבר שבהם יש וודאות די גבוהה ביחס למה הכדור עושה ומה הסיכונים שלו. אי אפשר להגיד את זה על פתרונות שאנחנו נותנים ללקוח שלא תמיד נבדקו ונבחנו. והם עלולים לגרום לו יותר נזק מתועלת.
    גישת הניסוי והטעייה יכולה לעבוד עם הלקוח מוכן לשלם על זה שייקח זמן להגיע לפתרון ודרך תהיינה טעויות, מניסיוני לקוחות לא ממש אוהבים את גישת הניסוי והטעייה על גבם.
    החלמה מהירה.

  2. I had technical problems yesterday that prevented me from attending this OD gathering you speak of, Allon. Sounds like the group of Latin teachers are well-intentioned but irrelevant.

    Last night, I attended a gathering at my church, where I had a similar reaction. A group of well-intentioned members who can’t get out of their own boxes far enough to see what is really going on…and what is really needed.

    Transformation is a great buzzword. But how often are we just paying lip service vs really going the radical way?


  3. “Sounds like the group of Latin teachers are well-intentioned but irrelevant.” That’s why I stopped calling what I do OD. Instead, I provide short term solutions for small, seemingly manageable problems. Solve enough small problems and you get a large transformation.
    This becomes vitally important when working in the legal industry. Small solutions need to fit into time fractions. I am one of the few folks who can tell time in 6 minute intervals.
    Same is true with reading about interventions, I have no time for those who opt to baffle us with bullshit, long-winded dissertations.

    The answers need to be short, sweet, measurable and workable.

    Hope all is well with you Alon.

      • I have been able to measure things qualitatively. Although working for a small firm as a consultant doesn’t provide me with a large sampling. Still we have seen and measured positive results and did after action reviews on negative ones.

  4. Pingback: Get a new plan, Stan | Allon Shevat-אלון שבט

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