For anyone who’s passionate about working in an emerging field, organizational development is a great opportunity to join an industry on an upward trend.
When your role makes a real difference, you can be proud to be in a rewarding profession. Organizational development jobs involve working with companies to help their organize and achieve their goals.
This overlaps with change management, people operations, lean manufacturing, and other fields which are based on helping organizations transition in a shifting technological landscape.
What is an Organizational Development Consultant?
Organizational development consultants give companies an external perspective, because they’re brought in free of internal bias. As a consultant, you’re given an opportunity to work with different companies as and when your services are required, and use your experience to address the unique needs of the organization.
Your primary focus is to implement measures to help corporations transition to a new way of doing things. You’ll be an invaluable asset, due to your forward-thinking approach to strategy, and focus on accelerating the adoption of better ways.
Organizations are in dire need of responsive staff, because they need to respond quickly to changes, challenges, and opportunities. This has never been more relevant than in today’s forever changing business culture.
There was once a time when changes happened every 36 weeks, but now you’re faced with regularly innovating or the risk of getting left behind.
Here are the three main building blocks of responsive organizations:
- Open: You must be capable of sharing and processing useful information. Communication is everything, where your ability to create an open, two-day dialogue will define your success. An effective consultant will listen to these needs of individuals, incorporate feedback in their strategies, and clearly communicate visionary goals to help them embrace change.
- Learning: As an organizational development consultant, your role isn’t black and white. You must be willing and open to learn in real-time, and able to capitalize on newly obtained knowledge. By incorporating this in your strategy, you’ll preference a continuous improvement approach which aligns with the best interests of the company.
- Networks: Your ability to empower everybody involved in the change process. If there is a disconnect between yourself and staff, they’ll be more likely to resist your initiatives. Empathize with those you work with, and encourage people to share important feedback. This can be used to tweak your strategy accordingly, and when everyone is on the same page your change goals will be more attainable.
What Type of Skillset Do You Need?
Organizational development draws on various skills and expertise, from behavioral science to advanced communication. WIth a diverse educational, with experience dealing with different hierarchies, you’ll be well-positioned to reach your full potential in change management.
Some relevant skills for organizational development include:
- Theory: The basis for success in any field is studying established theory. This references the historical, academic, and practical references we take inspiration from.
- Tools: Change is driven by the tools we implement to influence it. The way we can harness design and technology helps us create new tools, which facilitate the way of working.
- Playbook: Our playbook is the content and experiences that help people achieve organizational goals. Your playbook is your planned course of action, which can inspire cultural and learning change.
- Practice: Real life settings are a great time reinforce new behaviors. You can learn as you go, while leading people and groups in new settings. It is very much a continuous improvement process, where you establish new ways of working.
- Coaching: Your ability to improve those around you. Tap into people’s potential, and discover new ways of working through challenges. This is very much dependent on your ability to lead, where your team will seek direction to meet change goals.
How Do You Start Out?
To break through as an organizational development consultant, you’ll need to put your theory into practice. There’s nothing quite like practical experience, and you can approach organizational development from multiple angles.
If you’re looking to get into organizational development, explore and experiment in the following areas:
- Purpose: Help your team align towards meeting common goals, ensuring they understand their core values and shared goals.
- Action: Explore different approaches to task management and work rhythms.
- Communication: To be a great consultant, communication is critical. You can enhance your communication skills by confidently expressing yourself, creating a dialogue with invested parties. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.
Remember, if you’re yet to get into change development, that doesn’t mean you can’t hone your skills in your current job role, especially considering they’ll add value to your business.
Once you’re confident enough to proceed in the profession, create a foundation for development in a related profession, like HR, employee engagement, or learning and development. If you find an organization development role, that’s a huge bonus, but never neglect the relevancy of related fields.
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