The Nine Steps to Successful Organization Development - Part 4

At the ODNET discussion forum, there is an intriguing exchange going on about the fundamental concepts of OD. Some have suggested alignment; others have suggested context. All are correct. But none have suggested what I would put forward.

Part 4 - What's It all About, Alfie?

Organizations are created by people, inhabited by people, and destroyed by people. Organizations are human endeavors. Therefore, the fundamental concept of OD that I'd suggest would be humanness. (Is that a word?)

Humanness includes all that people bring with them when they come to work (or whatever organization they go to) each day:
- their hopes and dreams
- their fears and disappointments
- their goals and plans
- their strengths and gifts
- their weaknesses and wounds

Because OD work is about humanness, it pays for an OD practitioner to be an avid student of human nature. Human nature can be a very quirky thing.

A mentor of mine, Communication professor Dave Davidson, used to say: "Never assume the next guy knows what he is doing...much less why."

Hmmm. If people in organizations don't necessarily know what they are doing, much less why, then what the heck are they up to?

The effective OD practitioner is something of a sleuth, a Columbo, asking questions, examining assumptions, poking around, "playing dumb" in order to discover what is going on...and why.

Human nature is a vast subject area. One that we won't exhaust in this series. But I will return to it again in the next installment.


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