How to build an Organisational Development Strategy in 5 easy steps

Organisational Development or O.D. is a much misunderstood term, with few understanding what it truly involves and how it differs from HR or Learning and Development. This blog sets out to outline a simple 5 step process for Organisational Development (O.D.) and shed light on how important it can be as a strategic process.

The process is as follows:

1. Identify the relevant business needs of the organisation

Step one is about identifying the organisation’s current people processes and skills and comparing these to where it wants/needs to be. This should be done in a structured way and be given some serious thought. For example, it could be forecasting that a significant number of retirements in key roles are due within 5-10 years. This would leave a huge skill gap within the organisation. Alternatively, it could be acknowledging requirements for a different skillset to keep up with new technologies and remain competitive.

So, it is about identifying potential risk and deciding how to deal with it. The use of diagnostic tools such as PESTLE Analysis for strategic planning or conducting a SWOT Analysis can help to make the process more robust and objective.

2. Decide on how to address those needs

The next step looks at prioritising and addressing the potential needs that have been identified. The key is to be as objective as possible and to think carefully about the various solutions before selecting any. If there are a number of potential needs then it is important to consider any overlap and prioritise those that are most urgent or have the most impact.

Looking at the various options before selecting one is key, as we don’t want to jump in at the first solution. There are a number of framework standards that are quite useful to help benchmark against, for example, the ISO framework or Investors in People, that provide another set of questions to evaluate your organisation against.

In addition, you may wish to look at McKinsey’s 7-S Model or Burke Litwin’s O.D. process model where you can analyse how everything interrelates within your organisation in order to decide what the outputs are you’re trying to achieve and align the interventions against them.

3. Select your intervention

The CIPD identifies four types of interventions and you may do one or more of these:

Human: Coaching people, carrying out training programmes, getting people to work in groups or facilitating teams of people to do things differently.

Business: Including Business Process Engineering and Lean Six Sigma.

HR: Looking at performance management processes like Actus or carrying out a competence or skill analysis to identify and develop any skill gaps

Strategic Processes Interventions: These could include transformation programmes or cultural change.

4. Implement the intervention

Having planned the intervention, consider using a structured change process like the 7 step change model by John Kotter. You can understand more about this in this webinar on Organisational Change. It isn’t just about starting the change, it is about making sure that it is well-managed. This isn’t easy to do, and is a topic we have covered in other blogs and is talked about many times on The HR Uprising Podcast series

5. Evaluating the impact

The final important stage is to evaluate the impact of your O.D strategic change. So, if we’re managing it effectively from the start, where we are identifying the needs and gaps, then we should have clear goals on what we are trying to achieve as a result of the strategic initiative or change. 

We need to reflect at key points and identify whether the impact is going in the right direction, if not then what do we need to change. Of course O.D. strategic interventions are not going to impact overnight so we need to have patience and we may need to tweak things as we go along.

It helps if we pause regularly to reflect and ask, how are we doing? Are we on the way to achieving the outcome we want? Do we need to do more? What else do we need to learn? These are all critical questions we should be asking when reflecting on the impact of our O.D. strategy.

For more information on Organisational Development, why not read another blog on this topic below or listen to The HR Uprising Podcast episode The Art Of Demystifying O.D.

Burke Litwin Model of Change Image

Blog: Understanding the term ‘O.D.’

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