The Future of Organisational Development: Why Aren’t We Embracing New Ways of Working?

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Firstly, I love my work, and most of the time, I get to walk with extraordinary individuals, those rare few that dare to lead and embody the work of modern leadership pioneers, like Brene Brown. What I am still surprised about is, how rare this mindset is amongst our leaders and more importantly, our Human Resource and learning and development communities.

Recently, I gave a talk on the future of Organisational Development and Organisational Design to a group of Human Resource professionals. The session focused on progressive approaches to the two organisational domains mentioned above. About mid-way through, I presented eight questions that were in a form of litmus test, for the participants to self-measure their progressions toward modern and contemporary approaches being modelled in some of the most progressive organisations.

Here are the eight questions:

  1. Changed your organisational structure to something that isn’t pyramid?

  2. Experimented with and have autonomous agile teams up and running?

  3. Moved away from traditional approaches to 3-5 year strategy creation to something more agile – quarterly steering cycle?

  4. Researched and implemented vertical development approaches to leadership and culture development?

  5. Made executive development and critical business information, visible to everyone in the organization?

  6. Moved away from behavioral and self-rated assessments to formative developmental approaches?

  7. Using digital culture instruments that have rapid feedback cycles?

  8. Have an organisational culture playbook?

I then gave them a broad measuring stick to measure their progress:

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Out of the forty or so professionals present, only a single person put their hand up for one thing. So, out of a total of a possible 320 points between everyone in the room, the total was just one.

So that got me thinking, why, as Human Equity professionals, (I hate the term Human Resources and I like to think that employees own some part of the relationship) are we not further ahead in this game considering the tools and talents at our disposal?

I am really interested to hear from others about why we have such a lack of interest in becoming Fit for the Future, and if there is, why are we not manifesting that in our organisations? I’d love to hear your thoughts.