Organizational Development: Shaping the Future of the Business
How do you create and change company culture? It’s a question organizations pay big bucks to answer. The simple response is: through people. Organizational development groups both big and small keep human capital at the heart of this mission. Why? Because aligning people practices, business goals and company culture is the key to taking your organization successfully into the future. So, how do organizational development groups inspire this evolution?
There are 3 key steps to advancing organizational culture:
Step 1: Unleash the capability and potential within your people.
Unleashing people potential isn’t some "soft" notion. It’s a strategy, and develops a competitive advantage. In organizational development, "unleashing" often begins by using individual and organizational assessment tools to identify talents, skills, needs and gaps. Once we identify the needs, we are able to implement employee, leadership and organizational development programs that further empower people.
At San Jacinto College, we utilize a myriad of individual and team assessments to help people and groups identify their strengths as well as blind spots. From this information, we are able to customize employee development, coaching sessions and leadership development. We’ve found that training modules that focus on communication, self-awareness, influence and the five dysfunctions of a team complement our strategic goals, mission and vision. These programs allow employees to develop the skills and competencies they need to move the organization forward.
Step 2: Share and communicate an inspiring vision of the future.
The first step towards sharing an inspiring vision is to have one; however, having a vision is not the same thing as being able to articulate it. You’ll need to communicate the vision in such a way that enrolls others in bringing it about. The next step is to feel it—to literally engage your senses and imagine what the world will look and feel like when your vision is accomplished. Partnering with organizational development professionals is a good place to start when you want to inspire change. With a little strategic planning, change management can literally reimagine the future of your organization.
When organizations introduce change, they often miss very simple, yet important steps along the way. As a result, organizations get stuck in holding patterns —resistance occurs, change initiatives fail and morale plummets. A phased approach to change is best and should include preparing for change, managing change and reinforcing change. The most crucial component in all of these phases is strategic communication. Opportunities to share and communicate an inspiring vision of the future come in many forms. Our organization employs face-to-face chat sessions with leadership, town hall meetings, blogs, videos and email newsletters. This allows the vision to reach people in many different ways so they are fully enrolled in bringing about the change. A change management and communication strategy will go a long way to realizing your vision.
Step 3: Develop and implement strategies that excite people and inspire organizational growth; turn plans into action.
Many organizations – especially large ones— struggle to translate theory and design into action that will move the organization forward. Why? Often because people don’t identify and associate their own roles with their organizational purpose. Do employees really know what the organizational goals are and how they fit into the big picture? Turning strategy into action won’t happen if they don’t know what they are doing and why they are doing it. If you are looking for a way to determine what strategies will give you the most bang for your buck, first look to the best source – your people. Employee surveys, environmental scans, focus groups and employee health checks are good ways to inspire organizational growth and plan for the future. Turning plans into action starts with aligning your strategic design with your vision and making sure people know how they are connected to the plan.
Our organization takes every opportunity to connect employees to strategic goals, to each other and to important information. Our onboarding program is a good example of this. We connect new employees early on to the big picture by introducing company values, goals, and actively reinforcing their purpose here through hands-on activities. They leave on day one knowing why they are here, how they impact our bottom line and how they can help us turn plans into tangible change.
Successful organizations leverage people practices; they are collaborative and future oriented. There are a variety of organizational development strategies that lead to change in an organization; OD groups focus on developing the structures, systems, processes and people within the organization that can be directed toward individuals, work groups, or the entire organization. Through OD, organizations can change culture, build capacity, achieve goals and purposefully manage challenges and change.