Monday Musings - 13th April 2020
I love being the ‘grit in the oyster’ the challenger, the constant “why do you do that then?” I love working with great people who have great vision and supporting them to turn it into reality. I love being able to coach, to present back the data, to offer insights and perspectives that might otherwise be missed. I love co-production, I love working in ambiguity, with change and the hardest of all – transformation: in short I love doing the tough head scratching stuff.
What is it I do? I do OD, organisational development. That mysterious dark art, that thing that some think is training or a ‘sort of HR’ or a people function – well sorry folks in my world that aint it – no, what I do is ‘real’ OD.
Why be so precious I hear you cry? Well because I think we risk missing the point and therefore tragically missing the potential of real OD. To state that it’s the ‘people stuff’ is just plain wrong. To state it’s the ‘pink and fluffy’ stuff is just plain offensive. No – for me the clue is in the title – it is ORGANISATION development – every darn facet of it – from organisational identity and purpose, vision setting and testing the strategic direction, through to governance, leadership, culture, working with partners and stakeholders, engaging and co-developing with staff, being as clear and efficient as possible to achieve the bottom line – it is creating the conditions – all the conditions for success.
It is important, I believe, to be a true OD practitioner you must model the way. Be open to challenge and to push forward creating new futures and overcoming challenges along the way. So how are we doing? How is our wonderful profession positioning, developing and challenging itself for now and the future?
Who will provide the grit in the future?
You know, in truth, I’m not sure. I meet some wonderful OD folk on my travels, highly talented dedicated people who work tirelessly – but all too often I wonder if they/we have been undersold, wrongly positioned, and even busied with the wrong work. There’s no doubt the people I meet can turn their hand to almost anything – and do it brilliantly – but is that what we want?
I reflect on how I ‘learned OD” and in all honesty, it has been through years and years of personal experience. Working in the traditional professions and through my own career which has seen me work from administrative assistant up to corporate director – it’s been a life’s work.
So, who/what will replace me? With the increase in digital working which parts of my ‘kit bag’ could/should be digitised how are we modelling best practice and preparing our organisation for a digital age? Where do the next generation of OD aggravators come from? What is their professional development path – do they have to just keep working at it until they’ve put enough years and experience in to consider themselves proficient? I hope not.
A rock hard profession
What I hope is that the profession I love will finally come out of the shadows and be recognised for the discipline that it is – not an add on – but a wonderful essential exciting, ‘rock hard’ profession that can and does make a huge difference when let lose. I hope that the next generation have a clear professional pathway that is taken seriously and afforded the respect it deserves – I hope they get accredited recognised programmes, qualifications – gosh even letters after their names if they want it!!!
There is a hotch-potch of development out there – some of it great and frankly some of it beyond lame. But honestly, if I were asked by a new recruit where he/she should turn for true OD professional development – I am not sure what I would advise.
Is it me? Am I missing something? Has there been an OD professional development pathway revolution and I was “at the dentist?”
So, I asked myself – if a director came to me with this type of problem I would ask them two fundamental questions (as a start!!)
What would great look like (outcome)What have you got currently?
Maybe OD practitioners out there – it’s time to OD ourselves. Let’s start moving that grit around shall we and see what pearls of wonder we can make.