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Globalised Organisation Development

The global economy has necessitated working across cultures and navigating the complexities of diversity. Leaders often focus on endless ‘tasks,’ and neglect the ‘process’ of achieving those tasks. Organisation Development practitioners are skilled in assisting leaders to attend to ‘process.’

I have always been fascinated by the way humans relate, especially in the organisational context. Early in my career, I believed that the only way to succeed was to become a master of the task.  As we were reminded to balance this with relationships building, I often wondered, what this meant and chose to simply rather ‘work hard,’ whilst maintaining collegial distance.

Fast forward 10 years and I had ‘proved’ myself.  Progressing in my career, I realised the need to relate better to the people and understand multiple cultures and diversity.  My personal journey opened me up to multiple spaces where deep interactions could flourish.  The possibilities for learning and understanding multiple viewpoints was immersive.

Fast forward a further 10 years and the leadership expectations of me are to be able to bring people together and create the space for teams and organisations to relate better. The expectation of my ability to perform actual tasks is diminished, most people my junior can perform these tasks much better than me.  My need to make meaning of my experiences, resulted in me completing an immersive programme, to consolidate my understanding of the field of Organisation Development.  In doing so, I have found new keys to unlock potential for myself and those around me.

The field of Organisation Development and Applied Behavioural Sciences was pioneered by critical thinkers and especially Kurt Lewin.  Lewin theorised essential pillars of the field, which includes, action research theory, group dynamics’ theory and change theories.  In the US, in the 1950’s critical thinkers started to extend the context of personal psychology into the organisational realm and the discipline started to take shape. The central definition of Organisation Development is to improve the functioning of individuals, teams and the total organisation through a lens of applied behavioural science principles and theories.

My ability to ‘relate’ to people and build enduring relationships is one of my key skills for success.  This ultimately unlocks my potential to work globally and across culturally diverse contexts. As I grow my skill set beyond my CA(SA) and into an Organisation Development practitioner, I am convinced more than anything, that these combined skill sets are vital for assisting global organisations to grow and create fulfilling spaces for people to flourish.

An effective Organisation Development practitioner is able to demonstrate the following immersive  competencies:

  • Holistic understanding of organisation functioning and its context
  • Role modelling the core values, and ethics that shape Organisation Development work
  • Deep technical knowledge and experience in applied behavioural sciences
  • The confidence and understanding to intervene in multiple layers of the client systems’ simultaneously through a process consultation approach
  • Demonstrate deep self-awareness and self-confidence to be able to ‘meet’ the organisation system

How do you see your leadership skills changing as you progress in your career?

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