Organization Development Articles

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Data-Gathering, A Cornerstone of Organization Development

Data gathering is not seen as glamorous part of organization development. Many practitioners think of it as the precursor to the exciting things that practitioners do that really make a difference. Some consider it optional and could be skipped. They are mistaken....

The Value of Being Unproductive

“I feel like I’ve always got to be productive,” a client told me. She continued, “I feel on the edge of burnout though.” I ask, “Do you ever take time off?” Then I add, “I love days when I’ve got little or nothing to do. In fact, I often plan my week to be sure I’ve...

Worthlessness Is a Worthless Fiction We Were All Taught!

I grew up with a humiliating stutter. I was asthmatic and puny. I saw myself as pretty worthless. I had a friend, a psychologist, who used to say that everyone has their “core of rot.” We all have some aspect of ourselves that we consider worthless and unworthy. Thank...

Managing Your Intentions and Impact

A frustrated leader screams at a valued employee in public. Another talks over a subordinate while wondering why his people don’t speak up more. Both leaders have done something (with no conscious intention) that is likely to damage their effectiveness as leaders. We...

The Power of Conscious Choice

A power that the best of leaders have is the power of conscious choice. All of us have the power of choice. It’s just that the best leaders multiply it by using it consciously. Most of us make the myriad choices of daily life automatically, though expedient and...

Anatomy of a Diversity Initiative

Meaningful interest in diversity, inclusion, and equity have waxed and waned in the United States since the 1940s and probably much earlier. World War II saw women taking an active role in the workplace for the first time. In 1948, President Truman of...

Alone Does Not Mean Lonely

The holidays are done. Christmas and New Year's Day having followed Thanksgiving less than a month before. Times to be with family and those you’re close to. But for me, I’ll dined alone. I’ve had folks tell me how sorry they...

Creating Safe Teams

An important key to having great teams and organizations is their sense of safety. Their members do not fear censure should their all-too-human egos and emotions become evident. They feel free to speak, to dissent, to be radical, and even outlandish. This freedom is...

Get to Critical Mass Support with System Mapping

Creating change in human systems such as teams and organizations is a matter of developing a critical mass of support for the change goal. Of course, developing that critical mass may involve working through whatever resistances there are and resolving the conflicts...

Resolving Conflict in Teams & Organizations

A few months ago, I was working with five faculty members of a university sociology department. They were having difficulty getting along with each other. There were lots of conflicts and negative judgments were abundant. I interviewed each one. They were all...

Changing an Organization’s Culture

Changing an organization's culture or the norms of a team is not something to take lightly. An organization's culture is the pattern of how it routinely behaves much like the personality of a human being. The analogy is apt since an organization is a human system....

The Secret Sauce for Making Teams Work

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” -- Margaret Mead She was pissed! She couldn't make her team work. As the new leader of a perennial best-company-to-work-for, she was...

Don’t Waste Your Strategic Plan

Don't waste your strategic plan. A good strategic plan serves as the focal point for how an organization toward both long and short-range success. It provides… Direction for aligning an organization's staff and activitiesCriteria for organizational decision-making....

Definition of Organization Development

Let’s clarify the definition of organization development (OD), the most powerful technology for managing change in human systems. It is unclear to too many people and organizations who could need it. Not too long ago, I was having dinner with a client during a project...

Quick and Easy Consensus Decision-Making

Consensus decision-making has the reputation of being very time-consuming. It needn’t be if the steps outlined below are followed. The failure of most supposed consensus procedures result from failing to ask those objecting if they are willing to accede to the...

Sustainable Interventions

You used all of your skills to move your team from being dysfunctional to one with a high level of productivity, full engagement of all team members, and they even had some fun together. But will your success last? Will they revert back to dysfunction when you can’t...

Six Ways to Cure the Dysfunctional Team Blues

The CEO is frustrated! She is the CEO of a major health care organization and, like many other organization leaders, believes in teams. She has project teams, functional teams, cross-functional teams, process improvement teams, etc. A few of those teams work very well...

It Takes Dragons

People ask me why I use a rather fierce looking dragon as my Center for Human Systems’ logo. Dragons are known throughout the world in all climates, cultures, and eras. There are dragons with horns, claws, breath of fire, great size (some small), wondrous wings (some...

OD Is Not A Recipe!

Lean, Six Sigma, Prosci, and other formulized change management methodologies all offer an orderly set steps to take—a recipe for ending waste, improving productivity, and otherwise accomplishing desired changes. There are, of course, several recipes from organization...

Give Your Clients What They Need, Not What They Want

A CEO of a medium-sized hospital asked me to train his front-line patient-facing staff in how to be pleasant to patients. The head of IT department asked me to facilitate “an advance” for her and her staff. She pointedly told me that everything was working well; that...

The Power and The Problem of Organization Development

Organization development is the most powerful technology we have for managing change in human systems. Yet, that focus on human systems, which is the heart of OD’s power, is also its problem. OD is misunderstood and misrepresented most often because Westerns in...

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