Organizational Development

Organizational development

has many faces. Sometimes it begins with a serious business decision, such as the downsizing of a department. Even when the employees made redundant have long since found other jobs, the shock of the cut runs deep among those remaining in the workplace – so deep that calls for value-based leadership are heard. This paring down of the organization may then ultimately lead to a process of cultural change in which the remaining managers formulate a set of management principles which act as the new standard for future leadership. That’s been the experience of one of my clients.

Sometimes it begins with a (supposedly) simple succession plan which proves to be highly complicated instead: After decades of growing the business, the well-deserved retirement of a senior executive is fast approaching. The years have seen this experienced manager develop his range of responsibilities along with his expertise. Consequently, it is clear that no matter how competent and clever, no successor will be able to fill this now expanded role without compromising the success of the unit, especially when it is set to grow due to major upcoming projects. The organization must therefore be adapted to enable a realistic successor. This too was a true case.

Though the reasons and points of departure for organizational development are varied, each involves change triggering interactions at other levels of the organization. For instance, a changed organization chart is usually accompanied by an adjustment in processes, not least by a revision of the interfaces. Suddenly there are additional departments with which actions must be coordinated or from which information is needed. And wherever people agree on how they want to control their future work processes and communication channels, values also enter the equation – for example, those of customer orientation, quality, cooperation and confidence. And voilà! organizational development occurs at the level of corporate culture as well.

As a systemic organizational consultant, I am aware of these complex interactions – how strategy, organization, operational processes and culture influence each other, – and help my clients reduce this complexity.