OD should not overplay the “Goal” ticket

Change management, Organizational Development and Coaching all deal with change and the enablement thereof. CM and Coaching attach huge importance to the setting and achieving  of goals. OD should not necessarily follow suite.

Change management is the top down, mechanistic and process-driven of implementation of a priori defined set of changes.  Clearly change management cannot exist without a great deal of emphasis on achieving the change goals. “We’ll get this implemented for you on time, sir; we will use template 34-77.”

Coaching supposedly assists people to achieve their goals. There is no coaching without a strong “play” on the “goals” ticket. Coaching is not only done by professionals; it is often done by “certified” and semi-trained “barefoot doctors”  (赤脚医生), who lean on a protocol of “making your dreams come true, a la “yes we can”. Like the barefoot doctors, these coaches are one trick ponies who need goals FOR THEMSELVES, to deliver what they market

OD needs to put goals in perspective. Following are 4  points we need to keep in mind in order not to emulate CM and Coaching.

  • Goals change all the time due to the rapidly changing environment. The danger of sticking to your goals is obvious in many present day organizational realities.
  • A twisted sense of self, personality defects and traits as well as chemical activity of the brain may lead to a wrong set of goals being set up.
  • Goals are part of a system consisting of people, luck, strategy, values, constraints, motivation, politics etc. Everything does NOT need to be aligned to achieve goals; rather at times,  goals need to be changed due to circumstance. Goals are part of a system, not THE defining parameter by which we line up everything else.
  • Many goals are contradictory and often,  people need to entertain 2 or more conflicting sets of goals, as they juggle the realities of post modern organizing.

Awareness of this above will ensure that the OD practitioner is wiser, less mechanistic, while truly bringing value added to our clients.

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One thought on “OD should not overplay the “Goal” ticket

  1. As usual, absolutely right Allon.

    As I’ve frequently said (& posted), when it comes to planning, it’s the process that matters – the changes in thinking that result from a well facilitated approach – not the plan itself. & any plan that isn’t regularly revisited & revised is completely worthless. Especially in a world that’s moving at the pace ours does today.

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