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When to consult an OD practitioner?

OD practitioners are often called in when organisations are experiencing significant issues, such as low profit, high staff turnover, reduced productivity, excessive machine downtime, or poor communications.

While these are all issues OD practitioners can definitely help with, you don’t have to wait until things are about to hit crisis mode to engage with one. In fact, it’s much better to consult with an OD practitioner before issues like this reach a peak. 

Some examples of when you might want to consult a practitioner:

  • Ahead of any major changes or additions such as:
    • An international project, collaboration or tender
    • A merger or acquisition of businesses
    • A change of leadership (including change of leadership structure as well as individuals)
    • Planned change to company structure (such as relocation, internal restructure, change of strategic direction, pursuing new market or portfolio direction)
  • To provide an opportunity for all levels of an organisation to be assessed and provide insight into any concerns or issues they may not have been able to flag, or that may only be visible to external OD practitioners. 
  • To check on the health of an organisation and review any issues previously flagged or identified, including following up on any previous OD work carried out.

Project Planning and Consultation

For many organisations, especially ones that undertake large, multinational projects, have diverse workforces or are working in safety-critical fields (such as construction, oil and gas, or chemical), engaging with OD practitioners on a regular basis is essential. With these types of organisation being so large and diverse, it’s important to maintain good organisational health and prevent any problems that are presenting as minor from becoming major issues. 

OD practitioners can be invaluable resources for behaviour modelling, change management planning, leadership development and organisational structuring when it comes to planning large-scale, international projects or tenders. It is particularly important to consult with a practitioner if the project includes multiple organisations or companies who will all have their own unique patterns of working and desired outcomes from the project. An OD practitioner can devise a structure and way of working that accommodates all parties and ensures everyone works towards the same goal, such as the success and completion of the project on time and within budget.  

Similarly, if an organisation is due to go through a major change such as an acquisition or merger, it’s essential that the two companies are on the same page in terms of strategy, goals, safety processes, leadership, and HR  – to name just a few of the key aims that need to be aligned. Creating a sense of cohesion and unity throughout the process will allow both parties to feel involved and listened to, getting the new partnership off on the right foot and allowing a strong start thanks to having a better understanding of the processes and structures. 

Organisational ‘health check’

One of the best ways OD practitioners can provide continual and on-going support to businesses is acting as a means of a ‘health check’ for an organisation or project. An assessment like this allows OD practitioners to flag issues that may be present but have not yet generated any measurable or visible ‘symptoms’ yet. They can then devise a plan or method for working through the issue and preventing it from becoming more acute and affecting the business further. 

If a business has previously worked with an OD practitioner, they should be regularly engaged to follow up on the work done and to provide updated advice and new practices or ways of working to organisations. This also acts as a form of health check as the practitioner can evaluable how well the processes implemented previously are working, and make suggestions for improvement. This also helps with measuring long-term impact and ROI of the original piece of OD work carried out, as well as updating and continually improving ways of working for the organisation, and supporting new practices and people who may not have been in place when the original work was carried out. 

Like with a visit to a doctor or clinic for your physical health, it’s best to get minor symptoms checked out rather than ignoring them and waiting until things cannot be ignored or are causing so many issues your whole body or life is being affected. Health in organisations is just as important to monitor, maintain and improve where possible to ensure a better working environment.

Feedback and Insight 

OD consultation and engaging with a practitioner is a valuable opportunity to get detailed insight into how processes and structures are working, as well as providing employees the chance to feedback and flag any concerns they may have. OD practitioners can work with internal HR teams to carry out this kind of evaluation, and collaborate to create meaningful results and bespoke plans or ways of working that best suit the organisation. 

With the ever-changing modern world of technologies and new advancements, it’s important that your organisation is always working in the best way possible to get the best results from your people, processes, structures and products. 

Find out more about how Patricia can help businesses who want to improve and advance their ways of working to create better, more efficient organisations.

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