transform organization

How To Help Transform A Good Organization Into A Great One

The head of a department at a large financial company once approached me to fix a big mismatch among his teams.

Looking to improve a critical situation in his department, he was taking a big step toward transforming his organization from good to great.

He invited me to pitch my coaching approach to his leadership team.

Here’s how it went:

Big boss: “They tell us that everything is fine but then their job satisfaction scores are the lowest in the entire organization…how would you suggest fixing this situation?”

Me: “First, I would recommend an open feedback exchange with your teams, including interviews with key players.”

Big boss: “OK, but the feedback has to be anonymous.”

Me: “If you want to understand the true feelings behind the low scores, it can’t be anonymous.”

I didn’t get the gig.


Proactivity Transforms

As an OD Change Practitioner, I’m usually brought in to help improve a critical situation like the above (OD = Organization Development).

Here’s a secret – if you’re a permanent member of the organization I’m working with, you’re usually in a much better position to influence this outcome than me.

Yes, we’re both stakeholders in your company. But I guarantee you that your vote counts more than mine.

If I ruffle the wrong feathers, I’m gone.

At worst, you’ll get a warning (you won’t get fired at my friend’s company unless you burn down the canteen).

I see it as my job to challenge others and provide my honest observations – even when critical. 

As seen above, it’s not always received with open arms.

I’m OK with this. I recognize that people and organizations are not always in a place to receive my observations. I also recognize that my observations can be biased and may not always be accurate.

However, I believe I can best serve an organization by openly sharing my thoughts, questions, suggestions, etc.

Would you like to play a larger role in making your organization great?

In this article, I share 3 ways that you can help transform your organization as an internal OD Change Practitioner.

OD Professor Gervase R. Bushe extends this label to anyone at any level “who is passionate about creating great organizations that are good for people, good for performance and good for the planet”.

In Wither Organization Development”, Bushe lays out 3 ways you can help move your organization from good to great…from the inside.

Be Proactive To Transform

1) An OD Practitioner works to create great organizations in their everyday professional life.


According to the professor, OD can be practiced from just about any role in an organization:

“We can be in an authoritative role, a consultative role, and/or a team member role and apply a mindset and processes that are congruent with, and move the system in the direction of, a great organization.”

2) An OD Practitioner promotes engagement and inquiry both as characteristics of great organizations, and as required for an OD change process.

He points out that the best way to change depends on what you are trying to change and who has to do the changing.

Furthermore, “OD Practitioners are not interested in change for change sake. OD Practitioners are interested in using the “presenting problem” to increase organizational greatness…so your methods utilize engagement and inquiry.”

To utilize these two must-have methods ever better, learn “How To Ask Powerful Questions For Better Results”.

3) An OD Practitioner is interested in “development” as the process by which individuals, groups and organizations become great.

Taking the example of a team, Bushe stresses the need to distinguish between “development” and “effectiveness”:

“Allowing a team to go through a period of disorganization and ineffectiveness makes sense from a developmental frame because we see it as a necessary step in a team’s movement past its dependency on authority to being able to manage itself. With only an effectiveness framework, it makes little sense to let a group flounder when the leader could step in and get it working.”

I would argue, however, that the focus should depend on the specific situation and people involved – perhaps a team needs to be more effective in order have some success which could build the confidence to develop into greatness?


Influence The Change

As an internal and integral part of your organization you can be an influencing force for positive change, i.e. help transform it into greatness.

Yes, there will always be external experts around making recommendations on how to best to do this.

But you can go beyond recommendations. I can’t.

Changing the last word in the famous quote: Be the change you want to see in the…organization.

If it’s already great, I’m sure you can help it be even better.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. For my guidance on how to make a bigger impact to increase your value-add, book a FREE CALL with me.

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