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Whose OD is it anyway?

Image by Chris_Parfitt (

Image by Chris_Parfitt (

Take a look at the organisation you are in or the organisations that you work with. Who in the organisation should have or has the responsibility to…

  • Increase trust between people, teams & groups
  • Increase levels of satisfaction & commitment between people, teams & groups
  • Confront problems rather than neglect them
  • Effectively manage conflict
  • Increase cooperation & collaboration
  • Put  in place processes to improve the ongoing operation of the organisation

I’d guess most of you would think of leaders & managers, if not all employees? Maybe not… What’s your view?

Let’s go a bit deeper. Who in the organisation should have or has the responsibility to…

  • Make the organisation aware of  & create alignment with the organisations vision
  • Encourage people, teams & groups to solve problems rather than avoid them
  • Strengthen trust, cooperation & communication to successfully achieve the organisations goals
  • Encourage broad participation in planning processes to increase insight & commitment
  • Create a working atmosphere where everyone is encouraged to work & participate enthusiastically
  • Replace formal lines of authority with personal knowledge and skill
  • Create an environment of trust so individuals, teams & groups willingly accept change

That’s maybe a bit harder to pin down. I’d guess you are now thinking about the most senior leadership team in the organisation? Maybe not… What’s your view?

Fundamentally, what we’re talking about here is the health, efficiency & effectiveness of the organisation. I believe that what’s outlined above sits under the stewardship of leaders and needs to be entrusted to the whole organisation. It’s not a one-time only event… It requires a collective and continuous effort.

What I’ve described above represents a view of the humanistic values & objectives of OD – Organisational Development. There are a range of skills, practices, approaches and expertise that the OD function brings to organisations so their value is not at question here!

My observation is that if Organisational Development sits under the stewardship of leaders and needs to be entrusted to the whole organisation, how are we developing leaders to achieve this?


2 thoughts on “Whose OD is it anyway?

  1. Hi David
    In my view, Yes all these part of OD but when we talk about people and their performance we forget employee engagement. Engagement happens when an employee thinks beyond WIIFM i.e. What can I do for my organisation? In the recent past, OD has become a buzz word yet the essence has to be realized – its not downsizing or organizing events or selling change in the organisations?


    Posted by Samir Dawoodani | April 4, 2014, 7:24 AM
    • Hi Samir – thanks for commenting. For me, engagement is both behind and a part of everything I’ve written about in this post. What you are describing is the reality of what actually happens today and for some organisations the gap that is evident i.e. poor engagement. So I think it all comes back to the same question… how are we developing leaders to achieve this?


      Posted by David Goddin | April 4, 2014, 10:46 AM


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