In working with successful business owners and executives over the past 25 years, we’ve seen that those who practice effective organizational development lead companies that are able excel and thrive where those who do not, often struggle.
Organizational development, also called (OD), is the focused initiative of evolving an organization’s effectiveness and level of success through the alignment of:
- Organizational structure
- Team members
- Key performance measurement
- Management processes
Effective organizational development improves existing processes and creates new ones. The target is to understand how to maximize the effectiveness, potential, and capacity of both people and organizations.
This is typically one of the primary areas where we substantially help our clients to understand, create structures, and implement these critical best practices. When done correctly and implemented consistently, these companies achieve far greater levels of success.
Successful Organizational Development – Key Elements
For the purpose of this article, we’ve outlined our approach to organization development.
If you research, you will find far more scientific ways to convey this information. The Association for Talent Development defines organizational development as, “… a science-backed, interdisciplinary field rooted in psychology, culture, innovation, social sciences, adult education, human resource management, change management, organization behavior, and research analysis and design, among others.”
Our goal is to provide insights and guidance along with some practical things that you can actively begin implementing.
Establishing Your Goals
If you do not have clearly defined benchmark business goals, it is impossible identify potential issues which may keep your organization from achieving success. Every issue you identify and successfully address increases your level of success.
When working with our clients, we help them establish and clear and inspiring vision. Once our detailed visioning process is complete, the business leaders and everyone on their team is fully aligned and understands their key success factors.
The key elements of a successful organizational vision are well known . However, we have found that many organizations do not utilize or implement these correctly. One of the most misunderstood elements of a successful company vision is defining their mission.
An effective mission is not a statement, although most companies treat this as such. A mission should be a set of clearly defined specific goal numbers to which the organization is committed to achieve. These mission goals should:
- Define a bold, compelling, and audacious goal
- Stimulate and drive organizational change and progress
- Have a clear finish line and a defined timeframe
Some common specific goal numbers that are often part of our clients’ missions include:
- Dollars in sales
- Number of team members
- Team member engagement rating
- Team member retention rate
- Number of key target clients
- Key target client leads per month
- Key target client close rate
- Key target client average dollars in sales
- Key target client satisfaction rating
- Key target client retention rate
We typically develop a detailed mission model looking out about 10 years. Then, we reverse engineer the specific goal numbers for each year from the current year to the 10-year mark. By taking this approach, we develop a clear map of the specific goal numbers for each year.
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Key Performance Measurement
Armed with your specific goal numbers year over year, the next step in successful organizational development is effective data collection and analysis. Having the right data systems in place is critical for the early identification of potential issues. As we stated earlier in this article, every issue you identify and successfully address increases your organizational success.
Achieving “effective” data collection and analysis means that:
- You can get the specific data you need for useful analysis
- You can get the data quickly and easily on the schedule needed to make prudent decisions
For many companies, data collection is challenging for many reasons:
- They do not have the systems to capture the data they need
- They cannot easily access the data within their organizational systems
- There is no one in the company with the explicit role of data collection
If this is the case, these systems need to be created. Without the correct data, issues cannot be identified. Without identification, timely corrections cannot be made.
Once you have the necessary data, the next step is analysis. When analyzing data, the further back you can look, and the better organized (to tell the desired story) your data, the more accurate your analysis of the data will be. For example, if you were to look at your sales numbers month over month for the past 5 years vs your sales data for the past two months, you would be able to identify:
- Seasonally impacted sales trends
- Economically impacted sales trends
- Product mix impacted sales trends
- Client mix impacted sales trends
Using your specific goal numbers, determine your critical Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), establish the systems to collect and provide the data you need, and create a regular system for accurate analysis to identify issues which should be addressed as early as possible.
An organizational development intervention is any action that influences an organization’s improvement. Some of the more common organizational intervention types include:
- Human Process Interventions – individuals, groups, team building, relationships
- HR Management Interventions – performance, development, diversity, wellness
- Technostructural Interventions – Organizational structure, quality, tasks, enrichment
- Strategic Change Interventions – transformational or continuous change
The goal of any intervention is changing the organization or a sub-unit toward a different, more effective state. For example, if a salesperson is not hitting quota, some possible interventions could include education, training, awareness, or increased supervision.
Our client engagements not only identify key issues, but we also collaborate and advise on the right types of interventions to create the necessary change to achieve a more effective state.
Effective change management follows a defined lifecycle. The steps we follow in this lifecycle include:
- Define – the vision and desired key outcomes of change
- Plan – create the plan
- Engage – the necessary stakeholders and alignment
- Implement – implement the change
- Review & Reporting – are we achieving the desired goals?
We have learned that many organizations struggle with change. Some have even said to us that their organization is “change resistant.” These challenges are easily overcome through the cultural leadership and alignment initiatives we implement. Change becomes much easier and far more effective when everyone in the organization is committed and enrolled in achieving defined business goals. This creates a culture that embraces continuous improvement and where organizational development initiatives are part of the company ethos.
Continued Commitment and Discipline
As we educate and guide our clients on methodologies and the practice of effective organizational development, we serve as a change agent. Organizational development is not a one-time initiative. As this becomes habit within your organization, you will develop the systems and methodologies to more quickly identify and correctly implement positive change. This commitment and discipline is what separates high performing, dynamic, market leaders from those who seem to always struggle.
Putting this Information into Action
As mentioned above, the first step towards effective organizational development is the creation of clearly defined mission numbers.
Think about your organization and where you want it to be in 10 years. Write this down and start creating a model. Determine your sales, how many team members you will need, what your revenue streams will be, what systems you will need, and sketch out your future organization chart. Make all of this as realistic and tied to your current or available industry research numbers as possible.
Now, make a list of the KPIs that you will need to achieve to bring these mission numbers to reality. These will define the measurable data points you should start creating and the systems needed to track and identify improvement opportunities.
By simply taking these steps, you will see a clearer picture of how to achieve greater success in your business.
Organizational Development Sets the Foundation for Elevated Success
Businesses who practice effective organizational development are able excel and thrive where those who do not often struggle. Organizational development is a science-based, data-driven approach that works within any type of business to maximize the effectiveness, potential, and capacity of both people and organizations.
Webolutions is a full-spectrum business consulting and strategic growth implementation company. We help businesses across the country identify and effectively bring their unique story life throughout all experiences, allowing them to scale faster, smarter, and easier.
Our specific areas of expertise include:
- Differentiating Brand Development
- Marketing & Communications Strategies
- Customer Journey Planning & Implementation
- Enterprise Website & Application Development
- Systems Integration
- Organizational Development Strategies
- Team Alignment & Performance Solutions
- Business Performance Intelligence Systems
A Special Offer
To speak with one of our experts about implementing effective organizational development for your company of at least $5 million in annual sales, call us at 303-300-2640 and request a free organizational development implementation consultation. During this 60-minute introduction, we discuss your specific needs, share ideas and insights, and help you start outlining your plan. You can also email any questions to [email protected].