In my last article (investing in good governance) I concluded by highlighting the importance of good governance, of having a boardroom team which fully understands the potential which can be gained from making decisions which will have a lasting impact on the organisation. That article was looking at return on investment but my concluding comments could equally have applied to organisational development (OD).
In today’s fast-paced business world, standing still is not an option. Improvements in technology and infrastructure, changing customer demands and increasingly globalised trade have all led to a world in which your competitor tomorrow may not even be in existence today, whilst the products you offer today may not even be required tomorrow. As a result, organisational development has moved from being a one, three or five-year plan into an ongoing process.
Admittedly there are times when legislation results in change being forced upon organisations; but that aside, the board should be looking to proactively deliver ongoing development in order to promote the success of the company. And in order to do that, a robust OD strategy is required.
Developing the OD strategy
Why do we need OD strategy, surely it would be in the best interests of the organisation for every department to proactively engage in development programs? Well yes, in order to maximise your potential then people and processes and systems and products and delivery all should be part of the OD plan. But without a concerted strategy and structure it would be all too easy for developments in one area to actively work against progress in another. So whilst the search for improvement should be encouraged across the business, it should also be managed under a cohesive strategy.
This puts the onus on board directors to actively lead the planning and management of organisational development. And in a way this is one of their key duties, falling as it does squarely under the Companies Act 2006 requirement for directors to promote the success of the company.
Promoting success, delivering strong governance which actively seeks to benefit the interests of employees, customers, investors, the wider environment, and of course the organisation itself, requires planning and a systematic approach. By aligning the OD strategy with people and processes, by continually seeking to make the most of new systems, technologies and thinking, board directors can help to ensure that their organisation will not fall behind in the race to design and deliver products and services which resonate with customers and ensure the longevity of the organisation.