How to Get Started as an Organization Development (OD) Consultant?

OD consulting


Starting your own business as an Organization Development (OD) consultant involves a combination of identifying your key skills and knowledge, building a network, and marketing your services.

Here are some steps to help you begin your journey as an OD consultant:

  1. Identify the core competencies required for an OD consultant. These may include change management, facilitation, leadership development, organizational design, team building, conflict resolution, and data analysis. Continuously enhance your professional development to build your knowledge and skills through advanced certifications, workshops, training programs, conferences, and researching industry publications.
  2. Build a professional network: Connect with professionals in the OD field to expand your knowledge and opportunities. Attend industry events, join relevant associations or societies, and participate in online communities. Networking can provide you with mentorship, potential clients, and collaborations with other consultants.
  3. Define your niche: Determine the specific area within OD that you want to specialize in. It could be leadership development, culture change, talent management, employee engagement, 360 Feedback, coaching, or any other aspect that aligns with your skills and interests. Specializing can help you differentiate yourself in the market and attract clients who require your expertise.
  4. Create a business plan: Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your target market, marketing strategies, pricing structure, and financial projections. Identify your ideal clients, understand their needs, and tailor your services accordingly. Consider whether you want to work independently or as part of a consulting firm.
  5. Market your services: Establish an online presence by creating a professional website and using social media platforms to showcase your expertise. Publish thought leadership articles or start a blog to share insights and build credibility. Attend industry conferences and speak at events to gain visibility. Leverage your network to seek referrals and recommendations.

Building a successful consulting practice takes time and persistence.  Continuously refine your skills, adapt to market demands, and provide exceptional value to your clients.

  1. Collaborate with clients: When you secure your first clients, establish a clear understanding of their needs, goals, and expectations. Conduct thorough assessments and diagnostics to identify organizational issues. Design and implement interventions that align with their objectives. Ensure effective communication and build strong relationships to maintain client satisfaction.
  2. Stay up to date on the latest trends and best practices in OD. Seek feedback from clients to improve your services and adapt to their evolving needs. Participate in professional development opportunities, such as attending workshops, joining communities of practice, or pursuing advanced certifications.
  3. When you meet people, build a relationship, show curiosity in them and ask questions to learn more about them and what they do. Explain you offer OD Consulting services and briefly share the benefits of your services should they or someone they know need consulting.
  4. When you meet with a potential client, learn more about them and the organization first, then create a list of questions to learn more about their needs. This will help you to guide the discussion, build the relationship, understand the business, and potentially get them to agree to working with you as a consultant. My client discussion guide provides a step-by-step interview process for meeting with potential clients. If you would like a copy, contact us at

Remember that building a successful consulting practice takes time and persistence.  Continuously refine your skills, adapt to market demands, and provide exceptional value to your clients. As you gain experience and reputation, you can expand your client base and further specialize in the areas that interest you most.

About the Author

Dr. Nancy Zentis, Ph.D.,
CEO and Founder of the Institute of Organization Development. Contact: The Institute of Organization Development offers online Certification Programs on Organization Development, OD Process Consulting, Talent Management, Executive Coaching

 IOD also sponsors, a global OD Professional Membership Organization, offering member benefits such as a Professional Directory, OD Tools, Monthly Events, a Job Board, and Member Connect.  If you are interested in joining, click here.


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