16/10/2014

By Jessica Pryce-Jones, Co-Founder, the iOpener Institute


There are two major drivers of change in an organisation. These are awareness that:
- Markets or stakeholders could be better served

- Processes which serve stakeholders could be better managed or delivered

That means somewhere there's a real, felt pain that's being articulated and that needs addressing in an organisation's current context. The outcome is always to get the organisation better aligned with the climate in which it operates and to remain relevant in its markets.

Here are some of the change contexts that result in an OD process:

1. Change due to the operating environment
This comes as a result of a big shift in the economic, political, social or environmental climate that the organisation operates in.

2. Change in strategy and direction
When a leadership team decides to reposition the offering, segment markets, open/close new lines of business or refocus investment, there'll be a profound shift in the long-term direction and operations of the organisation.

3. Change in culture
This often arises to better meet stakeholder demands or to match with clients or end-users aims and aspirations. Organisations need to look like the people, the markets, their customers and therefore the cultures they serve.

4. Change in internal practice
Internal practices include changing the focus of what's done or processes that support what's done. They include major changes in customer service, communication, decision-making, collaboration, processes, IT etc.

5. Change in inter division or business unit collaboration
When an organisation is structured so that politics or rewards foster competition, then energy gets wasted. When this affects business priorities there is a real need for action.

6. Change in structure and roles
If the roles people have, result in sub-optimal or costly operations, an organisation needs to realign itself to become more streamlined. Otherwise the net result is less competitive products or services.

7. Change in planning and delivery
As business planning becomes more complex, more project management, benchmarking and greater business awareness is needed across all functions. Making that happen as an organisation-wide effort is a part of a change process.

8. Change in motivation
Most organisations need employees who are empowered to make decisions, show ownership and demonstrate accountability. That means an organisation where people can do the right thing, do things right and feel encouraged to do so.

9. Change in HR processes
This includes how HR helps the organisation become an employer of choice by attracting, recruiting rewarding and retaining business critical employees. Cascading these processes, making them public is critical in supporting an overall change process.

10. Change and adaptation to leadership development
When organisations fundamentally change themselves from the inside out, old ways of developing leaders and the skills, behaviours and attributes no longer apply. An understanding of the talent pool and its skill-level today, along with the skills required for tomorrow, is essential.

So if you are involved in any or all of the above, you are in an organisational development process and those processes need some kind of central co-ordination and planning. Because the real difficulty isn't each, separate initiative. The real difficulty is that all these processes need to be run in tandem and need to be rolled out simultaneously.

That requires a systems approach, some excellent planning and a methodology in which improvements can be quickly deployed. There's nothing worse than a half-planned process which has the opposite effect to that which was intended.

Change is good but only as long as it is change for the better.

Jessica Pryce- Jones is joint founder and partner of the iOpener institute for People & Performance which examines the factors that contribute to resilience and how it can be maintained.