Are We Getting Smarter?

My experience has taught me that Organization Development work is seldom short. Often OD work is long haul work.

In an e-mail posting to ODNET, OD consultant Bea Carson related some research she has done about marathon runners. When an OD project runs anywhere from a year to several years, the OD practitioner should do what Bea recommended in her posting about marathons:

- Have a vision and a plan, with goals and mileposts for checking progress along the way

- Communicate the vision and plan to others so that everyone knows

- Have a learning orientation so that set-backs do not derail the plan

To expand a bit from Bea's last point, having a learning orientation also means:

- Continuously learning along the way

- Making sure that the learning is 360, i.e., that you are learning from all key stakeholders

- Feeding the lessons being learned back into the thought process of the team that is guiding the project

- Making appropriate course corrections based on the learning

One of the measures of effective OD work, I believe, is that the participants say that they learned some things. And, as a result of the work, they have applied what was learned toward improving the operation.

As a colleague of mine used to say, "We got smarter."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 05/31/06

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