The first resort, organisation development
The first issue in our second series ‘making strategy work’, this booklet looks at OD as a stitch in time to raise business performance. The first resort includes a snapshot from our research ‘Everything you wanted to know about OD but were afraid to ask’, and chapters on, the business need that OD serves, diagnosis and interventions.
“We often spend so much time coping with problems along our path, that we forget why we are on that path in the first place. The result is that we only have a dim, or even inaccurate, view of what’s really important to us”
Peter M. Senge
A stitch in time
All organisations are in some sense pursuing the goal of ‘higher performance’, be that measured in terms of revenues, profits, share price, productivity, effectiveness or reputation. Typically, they will reach first for the hard levers – output targets, cost-cutting, delayering, sweating the assets, performance management, or more assertive commands from the top.
And those things work – up to a point. After that point, the hard approach yields diminishing returns. In the worst cases, it’s counterproductive: employees become demotivated or start to leave. It is where the hard measures begin to crash that something else lifts off. It goes by the name of ‘organisational development’ – or OD, for short.
But you don’t need to wait. ‘Doing OD’ is a stitch-in-time, a way of spending-to-save – and therefore not the last, but the first resort.