OD-What is it?

22 October, 2015

The general lack of awareness of organization development became clear to me while pursuing my master’s degree in OD. After my mother-in-law had a major surgery, I was helping her organize a complex medication regimen with a spreadsheet and color-coordinated labels on each bottle. A friend of hers had come to visit and commented on how complicated it all looked. My mother-in-law told her friend how grateful she was for my organization skills and proudly informed her that I was pursuing my master’s degree in organization. A few months later, I was helping my mom with bookkeeping and filing for her small businesses. My mother shared with a friend of hers that I had always been a very organized person and now I was even going to graduate school for organization.

If my own family thinks that organization development is about filing and organizing closets – how many other people hold the same perception?

OD is often misunderstood. Many companies regard OD as simply a training program or change initiative. Although training and change are indeed aspects of OD, neither is a fair representation of the rich work of the field. I once asked a professor and trusted colleague, “Why doesn’t anyone know what OD is and why does everyone think it’s Human Resources?” She replied, “HR professionals are brilliant at branding, and we are not.”

Organization development is really the art and science of helping organizations become more effective. It is a field rooted in research and the behavioral sciences. OD practitioners (like myself) are business consultants that care deeply about helping organizations align their people, processes, strategies and systems to deliver superior results. We roll up our sleeves and step inside of a firm and work together with the leaders to gain clarity about how the organization is really working, where it is trying to go and create new possibilities for achieving goals. We even, from time to time, help our mothers organize their lives.

At Dorsey Management Consulting, we help our clients learn new skills and expand their leadership capacity to better lead their organizations into the future. We help leadership teams learn how to work together more effectively and efficiently, enabling them to make sound and timely decisions in pursuit of achieving greater success. We partner with our clients to design and build succession plans and develop their future leaders. We coach executives to achieve higher self-awareness and better leaders of people. We do this in service of learning, helping each of our clients become better versions of themselves and achieving organizational goals.