Harnessing OD theory, Practice and Interventions as Strategic Imperative for Organizational Effectiveness


Author: Justine Chinoperekweyi, PhD

The thinking and incorporation of Organization Development (OD) skills training for directors, C-suites, managers and other work groups is a strategic imperative for building high-performance organizations. Most business literature, discussions and training focuses on the skills of organizational members in the areas of economics, audit, finance, banking, business administration, accounting, and law. Most of the capacity and professional development programs exclude other key organizational work groups, particularly those at the lower level of the organization’s hierarchy. The failure to be integrative and explicitly focus on organization development skills in and outside of the corporate boardrooms significantly affects coherence, adaptability and organization renewal. Boards, C-suites, and managers must proactively consider the opportunities that come with holistically embedding OD principles and practices in their operational and strategic roadmaps. This article discusses the significance of organization development skills among all work groups, C-suites, and directors. The promotion of OD skills among directors, C-suites and managers have a tectonic impact on the effectiveness of the entire organization.

Why should organizations embed OD theory and practice in their strategic and operational roadmaps?

OD is of critical importance to organizations for seven reasons:

  • Fact-based decision making and cultivation of essential leadership traits

The scale and complexity of the business operating environment require that firms harness OD theory and practice in every fabric of corporate management and governance in order to remain relevant and sustainable. This means organization development should be touted as a strategic imperative for organizational effectiveness. The corporate failures and distress experienced in most economies since the beginning of the century do cast a dark shadow on the exclusive reliance on such skills as economics, finance, banking, accounting and law as defining skills for organizational members.  Embedding OD theory and practice in strategic and operational roadmaps is vital in ensuring fact-based decision-making and the cultivation of essential leadership traits such as mission-focused, visionary, analytical and objectivity among workgroup members. These leadership traits improve strategic thinking and strategic leadership across work groups. The OD theory and practice is instrumental in reinforcing the leaders’ capacity to provide necessary advice and counsel and improve organizational legitimacy and sustainability.

  • Minimize risks by addressing the increasing digital complexities

The increasing digital complexities in the business operating environment necessitate the need for organizational change strategies rooted in OD theory and practices. Harnessing OD theory and practice inside and outside the boardroom is essential in expanding knowledge; enhancing organizational climate, organizational structure, and organizational strategies. Organizations that prioritize and cultivate OD skills across work groups have an improved capacity for solving organizational problems, managing change, and achieve internal coherence that gives significant competitive advantages to the firm.

  • Aligning an organization into the operating environment

Without downgrading the other skills required of directors and other organizational members as specified in various codes and policies in different jurisdictions, OD is a strategic imperative for organizational effectiveness because of its focus on aligning organizations with the rapidly changing and complex operating environment. Harnessing OD theory and practice across workgroups enhances organizational learning, knowledge management, adaptive management and the transformation of organizational norms and values. OD is instrumental in organizational effectiveness because it helps directors and senior executives devise change management tactics that strategically reposition the business in an evolving environment while embracing partnerships, collaboration, and innovation.

  • Enhancing the capacity to resolve complex emergent issues

Organizations that consider OD as a strategic imperative have the capacity to resolve complex organizational issues such as cultural change, introducing new systems or processes, determining the organization’s mission and values, and enhancing leadership and employee engagement. The field of OD is critical to business success and strategy through widespread learning, engagement and constant inquiry that enhances the organization’s capacity to deal with prevalent mega-disruptions, and thrive. It also supports the application of discovery and prediction techniques to further the achievement of organizational goals. Due to the volatility, ambiguity, and unpredictability of the business environment, organizations encounter technical and adaptive challenges that require the proactive adoption and application of analytical models and expertise. The models and expertise that drive effectiveness at a board and organizational levels require harnessing the theory and practices of OD as developed through inquiry, experimentation, and learning. The hybrid interventions that OD brings to corporate boardrooms enable organizations to be responsive to trends, opportunities, shocks, and pressures, and to resolve the complex and disruptive technical and adaptive challenges in organizational life.

  • Building congruence across the entire organization

The process of harnessing OD theory and practice supports organizational effectiveness in the following areas: compensation systems, performance measurement and management, sustainable consequences management, leadership and culture change and so on. It also ensures the building of congruence among the organizational structure, process, strategy, people, and culture. The ensuing congruence leads to enhanced competitive advantage as a result of sustained business growth, improvements in work processes, and enhanced capacity to innovate and self-renew. OD helps the board to manage risks and to devise innovate ways of managing consumers/customers, change, and competition.

  • Unifying people in organizations

OD theory, practice, and interventions unify the board, C-suites, managers and all other work groups thereby contributing to the development and effective implementation of well-considered and fact-based business strategies. It significantly influences and alters relationships and motivation of not only board members but the dynamics of all work groups that characterize the entire organization. OD is not normative and therefore promotes systems thinking which helps to understand the interconnectedness and complexity of organizations.

  • Increasing strategic awareness among all members

Embedding OD theory and practice into the boardroom is the inevitable catalyst for addressing all business challenges through enhanced strategic awareness and macro-perspective to corporate governance, which leads to the organization’s capacity to thrive and win. OD skills training and education should be a top priority on director continuous capacity development programs of the modern corporation. Organizations should seriously consider enhancing the organization development skills of all members in order to build high performing teams, improve individual capabilities, create an enabling environment, and improve organizational performance.

OD is not a normative field; however, for organizations to optimize the benefits of harnessing its theory and practice as operational and strategic imperatives, the seven areas below should be the focus of attention. The capacity and professional development programs for directors, C-suites, managers and other work groups should:

  • Promote the use of Decision Support Systems and Business Intelligence (BI) tools across all workgroups. This requires the definition of the organization’s data value strategy
  • Encourage the development and implementation of structured and integrative risk governance framework coupled with strategic (transformational) planning
  • Promote enlightened environmental scanning and action learning methodologies
  • Promote strategic alignment through process-oriented organizational re-engineering methodologies
  • Promote management innovation through R&D across work teams in order to develop well-honed product and service innovations
  • Devise an integrated Human Resource Management System that unifies all members of the organization
  • Devise a Performance Management System that is integrative and focuses all members on a common objective

Author:  Justine Chinoperekweyi is an Author and professional member of GIODN. He works as the Academic Director at Business Professionals Education Centre (BPEC) in Abu Dhabi, Visiting Faculty of Leadership & Finance at Synergy University Dubai Campus, and Independent Speaker with Sorp Business Centre in Dubai, UAE. He is the Team Leader and Co-founder of Edjust Services a financial and management consultancy firm incorporated in Zimbabwe. Justine has 10 years on banking experience and 7 years experience in vocational and higher education, training, and development.  He can be reached at justinechinz@yahoo.com.

Institute of OD offers online OD Certification Programs to provide participants with tools, guidelines, and practical application to help organizations implement organization change using a strategic and systemic approach.  For more information, contact us at info@instituteod.com.  Or visit our website at www.instituteod.com.


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