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hen I started in L&D, I must admit I’d never heard of Organisational Development

as a concept. It was at one of my industry events that I came across the term, in a talk with a few HR people passionately describing how their organisation was so good at development and this was how everyone else should do it. Now, almost 10 years on, I

wonder what’s changed. People have changed, technology has moved on, and there have been plenty of mergers and acquisitions along the way which have changed the landscape of L&D and HR, but how have organisations really developed? On the one hand, I don’t think

organisations should change for the sake of it – if it ain’t broke don’t fi x it. And on the other, change is essential for survival. It’s important to note, I think, that organisations develop at diff erent speeds. What works for one organisa- tion may not for another. And while we can talk about management buy-in for this or that development initiative, I think it’s becoming apparent that a top-down philosophy only works if the other 90% of the business’s relationship with the top is a good one. People will toe the line of their manager if they believe what their manager stands for. We the people are more adaptable

than we give ourselves credit for, whether you’re a boomer, Gen X or the

4 | June 2017 |

current media darling, millennial. T e whole “I don’t like change” philosophy is just that: a belief and not a refl ection of innate, human, hardwired ability. I believe that people in organisa-

tions are always ready to change and develop, and contrary to polemics such as Mark Achbar’s 2003 documentary T e Corporation, businesses are not

A business needs its people to speak up and make decisions for it

sentient organisms and can’t be treated as such. A business needs its people to speak up and make decisions for it. We are the business and when we speak of OD what we really speak of is how our relationship to ‘work’ changes. What changes in the business of OD itself can be trend-oriented and needs careful scrutiny. T is is not to say that OD isn’t

worth discussion, it absolutely is, but an organisation’s success is something that is entirely within our control. We just have to know what’s best for our own organisation and choose which parts of current thinking will work for us and our business.



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