How Can I Gain Experience in the Field of OD?


Author: Nancy Zentis, Ph.D.

Did you know that Organization Development (OD) is derived from the field of behavioral science and applies the theory of psychology, sociology, anthropology, and political science to understand the behavior of organizations and the people who work there? OD Professionals work with clients to help them lead change initiatives by identifying the problem or need and collect and analyze data to identify the root cause of the problem.  They provide the client with feedback to help the organization identify their priorities about what they want to change, help them create an implementation plan, and implement the change.  As the project is ending, they prepare the client for ongoing maintenance and end the project with a contract review to measure outcomes and results.

In addition to helping clients through a sustainable change process, the OD professional helps the client address culture change, resolve conflicts, overcome resistance to change, transfer learning and become a learning organization, create organization effectiveness, and align the organization through organization systems design.

An OD professional must be an excellent facilitator and have experience using a variety of OD Processes such as – Assessments, Surveys, Team Building Tools, Alignment and Organization Systems Design tools like the 7 S model, Weisbord Model, and Whole Systems Change and Human Interactions Skills including Dialogue and Collaboration Skills.

An OD professional must have a background in several intervention areas.  There are over 70 intervention areas that have been identified such as job analysis, career development, team development, succession planning, culture change, strategic planning, process improvement, job redesign, employee engagement, overcoming resistance to change, among others.  It could take twenty years or more to develop and achieve a high level of competence as an OD Consultant.  A Master’s Degree and Ph.D. are valuable and certifications in the field of OD are highly sought after by company recruiters.  In essence, having a dedication to lifelong learning is essential.

There are several important OD applications OD Professionals need to learn such as the Action Research Model, the Process Consulting Model, and the Dialogic OD model.  It is also important to have knowledge of the work of Kurt Lewin, the T-Group Movement, Ron and Gordan Lippitt, Peter Senge, Edward Deming, Eric Trist, and Robert Crosby.

If you would like to learn more about OD, we invite you to attend some of our free webinars, check out the webinars we offer on, and also take a look at our blog.  We’d love to help you gain a broad understanding of the role of the OD Professional.


Dr. Nancy Zentis is the Chief Strategist and CEO of Institute of Organization Development (IOD), offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and Professional Development Skills for ongoing learning.  As a consultant in the field of OD for many years, Nancy is recognized for her experience as an OD Consulting working with many clients to creating strategies for Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Talent Management, and Organization Development Change.  She can be reached at

For more information about our OD certification programs and professional development workshops, please visit our website


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