The Nine Steps to Successful Organization Development - Part 1

Having been in this field of organization development for some years now, I guess it's high time that I tried to distill and share the wisdom that I have gathered in my travels. So, this is the first entry in a nine-part series that I am calling "The Nine Steps to Successful Organization Development."

Step One - Where Are you Going? and Why Would You Go There?

Many years ago, at a very large international pharmaceutical and chemicals company, a mentor of mine named Steve was attending a problem solving course that I was teaching. It was a training course on one of those logical rational problem solving models that proliferated in the Seventies and Eighties following the success of the Kepner Tregoe model.

As I finished the overview of the steps in the "roadmap" to problem solving, Steve raised his hand and asked, "Isn't there a step missing?"

Knowing how smart Steve was, I played along and asked him in return, "What step would you add to this model, Steve?"

His answer was one of the most meaningful lessons for me as a journeyman OD guy. He said, "Well, before I'd commit resources to solving any operational or organizational problem, I'd want to ask first, Where are we going? And, Why would we go there?"

As good as this problem solving course was, it was myopic; it was not strategic. What Steve added was the strategic mindset.

In a flash, I realized that I was being myopic as well, and that I needed to question more, push back more, examine givens more, and stop taking things at face value.

Successful organization development starts (and ends) with strategic thinking.

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