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OPINION


deputy Editor, training journal @LightbulbJo


quick look at the Wikipedia definition of Organisational Development reveals that it’s “the study of successful organisational change and performance”. It highlights that OD goes back to the 1930s where “psychologists realised that organisa- tional structures and processes influence worker behaviour and motivation”. At its heart, this is about people, but people within an organisational construct, such as a business, charity and so on. A key point in that definition is the word ‘change’. Te trouble with change is that we don’t like it! “Trying to change any hardwired habit requires a lot of effort, in the form of attention. Tis often leads to a feeling that many people find uncomfortable. So they do what they can to avoid change,” state David Rock and Jeffrey Schwartz in their article Te Neuroscience of Leadership.1 If people don’t like the change


Cook looks a





because it affects them in an uncomfort- able way, we know it’s important to find ways to make it comfortable, while also focusing on the reason for doing it – the ‘performance’ part of the definition. Tis puts L&D professionals front and centre to focus on this, perhaps through the Japanese ‘Kaizen’ approach, where the word translates as ‘improvement’ and focuses on small, continuous changes. Our support could be through


communications – often linking with an internal comms department – but also in helping staff with their own skills. Communication is such a vast subject and, going back to what Rock and Schwartz shared, if we can reduce the attention effort for changing habits, then it makes change more comfortable. A huge part of any OD effort


is people development. Developing the skills of employees and engaging employees will be the two main objectives of L&D professionals in 2017,


www.trainingjournal.com


Organisational Development is a broad, rambling topic. Jo Cook tries not to ramble too much!


according to the Leadership & Profes- sional Development UK Survey.2


We have


an embarrassment of riches in the many ways we can support skills development – both face to face and digital, for all levels in the organisation and with all sorts of methodologies and resources. Something to be a little careful with,


Learning and development professionals are front and centre


in the broadening of many L&D roles, is the engaged employee. In their article Being Engaged at Work Is Not the Same as Being Productive,3


Ryan


Fuller and Nina Shikaloff state that “if you are relying on engagement scores alone to understand the health of the organisation, you may be missing the


bigger picture of what is really happening and end up trading productivity for loosely defined engagement”. Whatever your role,


we all have a respon- sibility to contribute to elements of OD. Business or charity, small or large, OD has an impact on your staff, performance and pro- ductivity. Stepping into other areas to see how they are succeeding, and bringing that back to your work will benefit everyone, including yourself.


Jo Cook is deputy


editor of TJ and responsible for www.trainingjournal. com/webinars and the online community.


References 1 http://bit.ly/2qtWeBA 2 http://bit.ly/2p1JCPV 3 http://bit.ly/2qtK4bI


| June 2017 | 9


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