Targeted OD interventions are aimed at solving specific problems without subjecting the entire organization to what is nowadays sadly seen as a long, tedious and unnecessary process.
Examples of a targeted process may include include improving the functioning of a certain department, mitigating turnover of a certain skill level of software engineer, or improving the process flow and overall effectiveness of onboarding.
A main challenge of targeted interventions is that they do no treat all the issues at hand. For example, if people are leaving 6 months after they join a company, if is doubtful that a targeted intervention to mitigate this will address the “deep state” issues which encourage this turnover.
Another challenge of targeting interventions is that they are often owned by Training and Development, which have the least political clout that any other function except perhaps the reception clerk, be it a he or a she.
And of course, targeted interventions which solve some problems create others, which are not solved. So the diaper is still dirty, it’s just worn by someone else. For example, new recruits are better paid, but the union now starts licking up a fuss for ” the new folks pushing in front of everyone else” and starts blackballing the new recruits.
Finally targeted interventions are often carried out by OD consultants who are not yet skilled enough to do system interventions, so they get the bread crumbs. Happy to get any job that comes their way, they sell lots of cheap hours and bungle up the job.
Targeted interventions are not going away. So here a few things you can do to make sure that you get your bang for the buck.
1 Define and redefine the mandate of the intervention over a course of several months so that you are not stuck with an initial incorrect scope of work. Ensure that the contract signed supports this flexibility.
2 Hire a consultant who is over-qualified. He (or even she) will work less hours and not fear telling you what really needs to be done.
3 Targeted OD interventions need strong ownership; if Training and Development owns it- it ain’t gonna work.