Organization Development

Improving Your Organization

At Executive Leadership Skills International we view organization development as the process of improving organizations. Our process is carefully planned and implemented to benefit the organization, its members, and its shareholders. Our client organization may be an entire company, public agency, non-profit organization, volunteer group - or a smaller part of a larger organization.

Executive Leadership Skills International' change process supports improvement of the organization or group as a whole. The client and ELS consultant work together to gather data, define issues, and determine a suitable course of action. The organization is assessed to create an understanding of the current situation and to identify opportunities for change that will meet and support business objectives.

Organization development differs from traditional consulting because client involvement is encouraged throughout the entire process. The ways in which people communicate and work together are addressed concurrently with technical or procedural issues requiring resolution.

OD involves several steps. Although the process may vary, these are the typical procedures undergone in an OD intervention:

  1. The consultant and the client establish a contract and determine what assistance the client needs and how they will work together.
  2. The consultant gathers data about the culture of the client organization---that is, about how the organization members work together and the norms governing their behavior---through interviews, observations, instruments with rating scales, and the like.
  3. A diagnosis is made of the state of the organization and the changes it should undergo to help it move toward its objectives.
  4. The data collected are organized according to the goals that the organization members feel must be achieved to improve the company; this constitutes the first phase of action planning.
  5. Concrete interventions are planned and implemented to achieve the goals.
  6. The interventions are evaluated to measure the extent of goal achievement.
  7. Follow-up evaluations are administered periodically to track progress and provide ongoing diagnoses upon which to base further interventions.

In the broadest sense, then, OD represents any attempt to improve an organization by identifying problems, planning a way to deal with these problems, implementing these plans, and evaluating what has happened. Given the trend toward "doing more with less," OD is a useful means of addressing shrinking resources, because OD emphasizes tough-minded, efficient management within a context of human concerns and values.