Posts Tagged ‘accountability’

Organizational Development


The field of Organizational Development (OD) is so fascinating that I decided to start a blog about it. There are many definitions of OD. As I was first introduced to the field many years ago, I tend to agree with this definition: …”a planned, organization-wide effort to increase an organization’s effectiveness and viability.”  http://tiny.cc/54uah

Another field that goes hand-in-hand with OD is Organizational Change Management (OCM). A definition: “Organizational change management (OCM) is a framework for managing the effect of new business processes, changes in organizational structure or cultural changes within an enterprise. Simply put, OCM addresses the people side of change management.”  – http://tiny.cc/49hfj – There are many change models which can be used for successful change management –  http://tinyurl.com/nx9l2bx  – I have used several throughout the years, including Prosci ADKAR and Kotter’s 8-step models.

Even though the term ‘Organizational Change Management’ was never mentioned when I was first introduced to OD, it was part of my training, as well as performance management and other subsets of OD.  I tend to group all of the subsets together under one category (OD) when I speak about the field I have such passion for. OD kind of fell in my lap early in my career as a blue-collar worker. The following describes the two experiences which carved out my career.

In the early 80s, I was hired for blue-collar work in a small juice-processing plant which Procter & Gamble had just bought to test market a new product. During my time there, the company engaged and empowered all of us to take ownership of our product. We not only worked together as a team to address production, process and quality, but were also involved with taste tests in the lab, marketing for the product (TV commercials) and cross-training. Those of us in the group who wanted to cross-train for existing plant leadership roles were encouraged to do so. I was one of them.  We were also taught about the different transitions a company goes through during change.  As a team, we were involved with organizational development from the ground up.   My first involvement with OD made such a huge impact on me that a few years later after I had to relocate to another manufacturing plant, a second opportunity to become involved with OD presented itself. I jumped at the chance.

My second chance of OD involvement came during mid-late 80s.  I worked for a small family owned manufacturing company, again as a blue-collar worker. The company was in the beginning stages of change as Emerson was in the process of buying this company in order to save it from a hostile takeover. During this time, Corporate decided to start a pilot which involved  several employees from all levels of the organization. This pilot group was to address process improvement, quality, cross-training, problem-solving, etc. I was chosen to be part of this pilot. We were considered the main action team. The company gave us the tools we needed by training us in the following areas:

Communications

  • Verbal
    • Listening Skills
    • Presenting Skills
  • Nonverbal (body language)

Problem solving

  • Cause and effect sessions
  • Fishbone problem solving tool
  • The 5 Whys
  • Brainstorming
  • Rapid problem solving

Team Building

  • Action Teams
    • How to be a good leader
    • How to be a good follower
    • Engaging employees
    • Conducting team meetings
    • Rapid team building

Quality

  • Internal Customers
  • External Customers

Process Improvement (Lean)

Project Management

Training (Facilitation)

While on this team, we were engaged and empowered. Our first project dealt with one product line for which we changed the manufacturing process from batch to line process. This involved moving machines and other equipment. Once we started the project, we were given the authority to stop the production line if any one of us found a quality or process problem. We wanted to bring awareness to these issues. We identified problems and quickly solved those through problem-solving teams. This particular project took us several months to complete, but we were successful. We were engaged, empowered, and accountable. We made a difference for the company. The rest of the machines in the plant were eventually moved, in staged efforts, to allow for the process change for all of our products.

During a timeframe of  several years, the team membership of this group changed to engage other employees, who formed subset teams for areas we identified for improvement. We addressed cross-training, various process improvements, performance management, timeliness, quality, and culture, among other things. Eventually, this team was phased out. This was my second experience with OD. Shortly thereafter, I would crave the excitement of the field so much so that I eventually went back to school while working fulltime and obtained my B.S. and M.S. in fields which aligned with OD. I went from blue-collar work to white-collar work in order to seek out opportunities where I could really make a difference.

This takes me to the present. I have been a professional for several years now. I have drawn from my past experience in OD and my continuous learning of the field to implement many initiatives which improved organizational effectiveness. After all of these years, the passion for this field is still like a fire in my belly. I did not choose OD as a career, the field chose me. There are numerous opportunities to make a difference, so my journey is never-ending. My blog will include many aspects of the field. In addition, I may include my responses to various discussion board questions relating to OD. Regardless of the content, I hope you enjoy my blog!

Tammi Peters, M.S. HRD ~ Organizational Development Professional

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