No matter your industry, you likely have been (or will be) involved in the process of improving business operations. It usually involves many steps and impacts many areas of your organization—including leadership, diversity and inclusion, corporate design, and coaching. To ensure all aspects of the enterprise work in harmony to promote efficiency and improve business operations, how you approach planning is critical. Some of the most successful business planning uses the process of organizational development.
What is organizational development, and why does it matter?
Organizational development (OD) is a process that leverages your company’s core goals to ensure that your organization can adapt, innovate, and embrace constant transformation. It uses a phased approach of exploring and assessing problems/opportunities, gathering feedback, developing and implementing a solution, and evaluating the performance of outcomes. Organizational development can be a really helpful business strategy to make your staff and systems more engaged and efficient in the long run. Most importantly, it can help your organization reinforce its purpose: why and how you show up to work each day.
3 factors to help your organizational development
It’s possible that not every stakeholder at your company will know—or fully embrace—organizational development. So as you delve into planning at the organizational level, keep these key factors in mind to help educate and rally your team:
- Recognize that change is inevitable and prepare for its impact.
Any change of a company’s strategies, policies, and plans will bring either positive or negative change within the organization. That's why it’s important to analyze the impact that any of these changes might bring before adopting them. Analyzing helps you understand what to expect, so you can more strategically select the initiatives that favor your enterprise. You can also easily eliminate policies, plans, and strategies that are unnecessary.
- Maintain a flow of open communication.
Many organizations face the challenge of having their communication consist only of giving details and feedback, leaving employees feeling like they can’t speak up when larger changes happen that could affect company culture. Our research shows that this traditional approach is pretty ineffective and can hinder OD initiatives. Start your OD process by restructuring current communication strategies to better empower staff members. Doing so can encourage them to be more vocal and promote the plans you're putting together.
- Always address concerns and fears.
Most plans to improve business operations will affect employees directly. Before making any changes in existing policies, strategies, and programs, it’s extremely important to engage your workforce. Taking time to actively listen to employee questions and concerns can help you better understand how your staff feels these impending changes will impact their day-to-day work. You also get insight into what they are ready to embrace. And eventually, you'll have a better understanding which changes you need to apply at present, and which ones you can ignore for now.
The key takeaway
Factoring in the ethics and compliance considerations of your organizational development process can make these three factors run much more smoothly for all stakeholders involved. Our 2021 Ethics & Compliance Program Effectiveness Report found that 71% of professionals reported that senior leaders integrated ethics and compliance considerations into their decision-making this past year. Get in touch with us to learn more about how to implement OD initiatives that reinvigorate your organizational purpose.
About the Author
Carolyn Grace is a content writer on LRN's global marketing team. Her work involves turning complex ideas into compelling stories that resonate across business segments, industries, and personas while hitting critical KPIs for traffic, conversions, and customer retention.More Content by Carolyn Grace