Dialogic OD: The next step in the evolution of organizational change theories
So, You Want to be an OD Process Consultant… What Makes an OD Rock Star??
By Susan Gervasi
The world around us is rapidly changing. Organizations are global, technology changes daily, multiple generations are in the workforce, demands in the marketplace grow stronger, and talent shortages abound. What does an organization need to do, in order to remain competitive and successfully achieve its goals? One of the answers to that important question, is to call on OD Process Consultants for help and guidance.
These are truly exciting times for OD professionals. We are becoming valued business partners, who collaborate and serve as facilitators and guides in assisting organizations to best utilize their resources. What a tremendous responsibility! Our selfless dedication to our businesses is both challenging and fun as we build our place in the organization as a trusted partner and advisor. However, we need to earn our seat at the table and then keep it. This new role requires us to continuously improve our own capabilities and skills. It is critical to our success that we take a serious look at ourselves and honestly assess our competencies and do what we can to stay current and develop our process consulting skills.
A great place to begin is by reviewing key competencies that contribute to our success. We must determine where our strengths and development needs lie and then create a development plan to build up our skills and knowledge. This should not be a “one shot deal”, rather it should be a continuous journey.
What then, are the critical competencies that OD professionals must possess? Let’s explore them. In all, there are 6 major competencies.
- Build Client Relationships and Grow Partnerships
It does not matter whether we are internal or external OD consultants, the first order of business is for us to conduct entry discussions with our clients. This competence lays the foundation for the relationship and for our future success. Entry discussions enable us to understand the overall needs of the client, define roles and responsibilities, and assess the organization’s readiness for change. In doing so, we must build rapport, establish our credibility to lead, set the ground rules, define mutual expectations, and create a scope of work. Our communications skills with our business partners must be effective so we can influence our clients to get their buy-in and support for all interventions. We must be able to present information clearly and succinctly. All this leads to our ability to establish a contract where the goals and key deliverables are distinctly defined and we align our vision for the intervention.
- Apply Key Consulting Techniques
As OD professionals, we must possess an arsenal of tools and techniques that we can put into motion as needed. Some critical consulting techniques that enable our success include: active listening, asking the right questions, coaching, facilitating interventions and giving feedback. Through the use of our questioning and listening skills, we continue to build the relationship with our clients and encourage their participation and collaboration. It is important to get our business partners to open-up and share their challenges, desired accomplishments, experiences, opportunities, frustrations, and visions. We use our facilitation skills to promote discussion and participation and gain consensus for the identified actions. Through the use of feedback, we synthesize the data and enable our clients to prioritize our efforts to maximize our collective success.
- Facilitate Events
One of our critical jobs as OD consultants is to help our clients implement change. We lead change initiatives and the implementation of change management strategies. Since change is never simple, we also facilitate discussions that deal with resistance to change and handle conflict situations that arise. Once the change is complete, our role also requires us to evaluate the interventions that have been implemented. We work with our clients to reinforce positive change through rewards and recognition. It is also important for us to create Communications Plans and share information across the organization. Similarly, we identify new skills that are needed to support the change processes and provide training when needed.
- Conduct Needs Assessments
Our initial meeting with the client provides us with a “big picture” of what is happening in the organization. However, it is imperative that we dive in and get a more detailed account of the current state, the future state, and the gaps. Through this deep dive, we get to the heart of the issue and are better able to guide our clients towards successful solutions. We create and implement formal assessment tools, analyze the data, and provide meaningful and timely feedback. Using tools such as “Force Field Analysis” and “Fist of Five”, we promote decision making and consensus. This leads to action planning and remediating the issues that deter the organization from successfully achieving its vision, mission, and goals.
- Manage Interventions for Individuals, Teams, and Organizations
As OD consultants, we promote team building and help groups set goals, identify roles, and contract for expectations. Our focus is to increase the motivation and productivity levels of teams and provide feedback on performance. We help resolve issues and coach to improve performance. In working with individuals, teams, and organizations, we employ several conflict management tools that enable them to move forward, encourage negotiations, and maximize collaboration.
- Ensure Critical Projects are Successfully Implemented
The final competency that is important to our victory focuses on project closure. It was a long journey from beginning to end. We cannot just say thank you and good bye to our client. Closure is necessary to tie up loose ends. In doing that, we must complete a final contract review to review the deliverables, debrief the working relationships, summarize the processes, and receive feedback from the client. We also need to hand over the “keys of the kingdom” to our clients so they can sustain the initiative and take full ownership. Transition of the skills, processes, and tools is achieved through formal knowledge transfer and training.
When we think about Rock Stars, we think about glamour, glitz, success, and fun. Who wouldn’t want fame and success? However, even Rock Stars don’t achieve glory overnight. It takes many years of hard work, continuous development, and lots of soul searching. We too can become the OD Rock Stars of our organizations. To achieve Rock Star status, we must put energy into our growth and development in order to inspire trust, respect, and credibility with our clients. It is most definitely an achievable goal but being the “best we can be” requires hard work. Look in the mirror, analyze yourself in terms of the competencies outlined, and seek support to build on your strengths and cultivate your development needs. You can find certification programs, local networking groups, universities, social media groups, and connect with mentors. You can make a difference in your career and in your organization!
IOD offers online Organization Development Certification Programs to help participants gain skills to advance in their career in the field of OD. If you are new to OD, you will benefit from the OD Process Consulting Certification Program (ODPC).
IOD’s OD Certification Programs are offered online, over 8 months, meeting 3 hours per month. Each session is delivered through Go-to-training. Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning experience.