Organization Development

Organization Development

What is organization development?  Organization development (OD) is a planned, organization-wide effort to increase an organization’s effectiveness and viability.   OD is a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of organization so that they can better adapt to new technologies, marketing and challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.” (wikipedia) tree-people

Sterling Insights views organizations through the lens of a biological metaphor, similar to the authors Gibson, Ivancevich, and Donnelly in their book: “Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes.” Organizations, over the course of time, move through a fairly predictable sequence of developmental stages:

1. Potential/Concept
2. Birth/Startup
3. Growth
4. Maturity
5. Stagnation
6. Decline
7. Death

These last three stages may be circumvented by focusing on “Renewal” which brings the organization to Stage 1, for example a new product or service or an additional market. What stage is your organization in? We recently helped a healthcare organization expand their business to avoid stagnation and to actualize the owner’s vision for a full-service wellness center.

We understand that organizations, like natural organisms, must function in relationship to their “ecological” system, i.e. their internal and external environment. These environments, just like nature’s eco-systems, are complex and have many interdependent parts. Sometimes, people problems are a result of dysfunctional processes, or change management issues can result from lack of employee involvement. When a client comes to us with a problem, we ask questions to understand the system within which the problem or opportunity resides. This way we can better help our clients solve root problems and take advantage of new opportunities by considering the important, major elements involved. We gain strategic insight, can advise, and facilitate results that send positive effects rippling throughout an organization

“Virtualization” creates new organizational opportunities and challenges. The ecology of organizations changes when teams and whole organizations are distributed. Workers may be scattered regionally, nationally, or globally and may never meet each other face to face. Instead, their working relationships are mediated by computer screens, telephones, email, and text messages. Beyond physical distance, they experience “virtual distance”, a term coined by Dr. Karen Sobel-Lojeski in her book: “Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise”. Virtual Distance creates the need for whole new ways to describe organizational issues, opportunities, and dynamics. Sterling Insights is a pioneer in application of visual tools and facilitation methods that reduce Virtual Distance.

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