At the ODNet discussion lists, one of the members asked for input and advice on an organization that has decided to transform its HR function, to be designed using OD principles.
Interesting undertaking. It reminds me of an experience I had in the mid 1980's. After a merger, the new HR leaders initiated a sweeping change of the HR organization, flowing from ideas such as:
- Dave Ulrich on HR as strategic business partners
- Dana Gaines Robinson on becoming performance consultants
- David Hanna on organizational performance consulting
As progressive as it was, this project provoked tremendous resistance, especially among those HR folks who were on the "losing side" of the merger. The attitude was, "Who do they think they are, coming in here, and telling us we have to change?"
The business unit Training Managers, reporting up to HR Directors, were not immune to this change. And we were one of the most recalcitrant groups of all. One of the reasons for our defiance, I recall, was that the heads of HR had not consulted us in the design of the change initiative. We saw ourselves as internal consultants and change agents, but apparently that perception was not shared by the HR leadership.
In one of our rambunctious transformation meetings, I remember one of my humorous colleagues saying, "Who is going to facilitate the facilitators?"
In the end, the transformation was a success. And certain individuals were exited from the organization.
Some lessons learned?
- Use the Change Formula (Change = Vision + Dissatisfaction + First Steps > Resistance)
- Communicate! Especially the reasons for the change.
- Involve. Especially those to be most affected by the change.
- Expect pain.
- Expect turnover.
Posted by Terrence Seamon, Jan 31, 2010