If you are in the grouping that is unclear of what the future of Organisation Development (OD) is, let us explore it together. We are living in fast-paced, unpredictable times and OD may be the discipline that can provide a compass to help us navigate.
The field of OD is under severe pressure at the moment and its relevance is being questioned. OD is not alone but it is far too important a discipline to be allowed to slide into an abyss.
It is a growing field and its processes are sound.
In this blog post, we will explore, in simple terms, how the future stands to benefit from OD practices.
What Is The Future Of Organizational Development?
It is clear that the future of Organizational Development (OD) will stretch across three key areas – the pace of change, technology and people. It is fast becoming an integral factor in every part of the organisation. Added to that, OD skills are required by employees at every level of the organisation. Given the most recent global developments, all world economies are now required to rethink their Vision, Mission, relevance and purpose. OD is the gateway to the changes needed.
There will be some fundamental changes though.
Instead of relying heavily on a company’s human resources alone, OD will use advanced technology and this will result in a reduction in the time OD interventions take to be implemented.
There will be a greater focus on learning, development, innovation and growth. The connectedness and interdisciplinary nature of the field will increase.
If you are an OD Practitioner, this means that to be able to solve modern-day and future problems for organisations, you first have to be congruent with the future.
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What Is The Importance Of Organizational Development?
But why is OD important?
To answer that, let’s be sure that you understand what I am referring to when I say “Organisation Development“.
The objective of OD is to facilitate continuous improvement in an organisation. It starts with appropriate strategic choices and includes all the activities and decisions that are implemented to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
Our end goal is better performance with the same or, preferably, lower costs.
Maintaining or reducing costs is critical in the equation. Too often, I encounter initiatives that do not showcase their impact expenditure. To cement things even better, I also suggest that you put some effort into increasing revenue.
If an organisation, like an individual, is not continuously driving improvement, it will eventually die. Sooner rather than later, given the pace of change today.
What Trends Are Driving The Future Of OD?
During the period of October 2021 to March 2022, we surveyed a hundred (100) medium-sized organisations in the United States of America (USA). It was a brief survey and was used to understand three primary things:
- What aspects, (if any), of OD, were being used now?
- What aspects would they be using in the next three to five years?
- How were they planning to implement their OD interventions in the next three to five years?
We targeted medium-sized organisations with a strategy that included growth in revenue, profits and production.
The findings were insightful and served as a guide for our OD Practitioners.
This was the biggest revelation:
Whilst they appreciated the importance of their human resource, they felt that the advances in technology provided a larger basket of choices and options.
It requires an investment in:
- platforms versus products,
- digital versus mechanisation,
- insights versus data,
- experiences versus services, and,
- specific, project-focused talent versus broad-based, long-term employees.
These trends could be summed up using two words: technology and digitization.
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Is Organizational Development Still Relevant?
Yes, it definitely is!
At the heart of OD are evolution, innovation and change. OD involves planned and systemic change, not only in processes, systems and procedures but more so in the beliefs, attitudes and values of all employees.
These factors are the most effective way to achieve consistent and meaningful personal and company growth and development.
The pace of change and the demands on organisations to reinvent themselves has never been more intense than it is now. And everything points to the fact that there will be no letting up any time soon.
Many organisations that do not make use of OD are wasting their resources on problems that will have no bearing on the future.
That is a recipe for disaster at best and death at worst.
OD is about change and change IS the work.
Organizational Development Can Get You Future-Ready
Becoming future-ready is a daunting task for most individuals and organisations today. The pace of change will not slow down and the environmental factors that continue to emerge are overwhelming.
Just when the world thought that it was emerging from the global pandemic of 2020 to 2022, we are presented with the war in Ukraine.
There is now the suggestion that we are facing a global recession.
Things just do not seem to be letting up.
Two things are certain though.
We will continue to increase our reliance on technology and our human resources will remain our most valuable asset.
Marrying those two and using proven OD assessments and interventions to manage the impending changes will provide a much better understanding, greater confidence and a more stable footing to successfully confront the future.
Closing Thoughts . . .
Our organisation is a living example of what can be achieved using the tools and assessments from OD. Although it is our business, we had to look inward and ask ourselves what is the future of organisational development?
Over a period of three weeks in August 2019, our Leadership Team made two choices:
First, we moved from being a traditional, physically-grounded company to a mobile and virtual one. We chose to go where the work was, taking whatever expertise and resources were needed.
We adapted our processes, marketing and business generation for the online digital space.
There was no glass ball but all our research and indicators pointed to a need to reinvent how we took our products and services to market.
They were two of the best choices we have ever made!
Today, seventy-five percent (75%) of our business is generated online and managed digitally. When necessary, our Partners, Managers and Associates go where they need to be, deliver and close.
Opportunities to support other businesses through this adaptation and work with Professionals and Executives as they relearn new skills for the future are blossoming.
What Does Your Future Reality Look Like?
Your future can be an extension of your past or something new that you create.
OD can provide you with a frame of reference for your future reality. But, it begins with focusing on what you want to create and where you want to take your business and your life.
Perhaps, you are open to sharing that with us.
Please leave a message below and let us know.
We would also be happy to receive your feedback, questions and thoughts about this article and any other topics you would like us to explore.
Thank you for stopping by!
About The Author
Cassandra is a Management Consultant, Internationally qualified Facilitator, Coach, Strategist and Behaviour Change Agent. She enjoys travelling, exploring cultures and learning about historical and social networks and dynamics.
Her driving force is the education and development of her tween daughter. The roots of her inspiration to diversify her niche markets and the motivation to expand and scale her business investments rest firmly in this relationship.
This is the reason for creating her legacy.