>The closing gap between OD and L&D

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This week I put up a post about Organisational Development and my learnings from the L&D2020 workshop held by the Training Journal. Today I’d like to let you know about the actual session itself and the topics talked about.
The Benefits of an OD Approach
Linda Holbeche opened the day’s proceedings with an introduction to OD from her research based consultancy the Holbeche Partnership. She spoke about the ability of an organisation to be agile and ensuring the ‘right’ people are focused on the ‘right’ things and engaged in collective effort. To support you also then need the ‘right’ kinds of management and leadership, the ‘right’ business model, processes, structures and systems.
Linda gave some insight into what constitutes a high performing organisation:
– Adaptable and change-able
– Enable innovation and are knowledge rich
– Boundaryless
– Stimulate individuals to higher levels of performance
– Great places to work
– Values based
From the work she has carried out, her research and exeprience, OD applies to:
– Changes in the strategy, structure and/or processes of an entire system
– Based on the application (and transfer) of behavioural science disciplines e.g. group dynamics, leadership, strategy and work design
– An adaptive process for planning and managing change
– The design, implementation and reinforcement of change
– Oriented to organisational effectivneess; supporting organisation improvement and sustaining organisation renewal
At its core, OD has the following humanistic values:
– Democracy and participation
– Openness to lifelong learning and experimentation
– Equity and fairness – the worth of every individual
– Valid information and informed choice
– Enduring respect for the human side of enterprise
Typical OD applications include:
– designing and delivering L&D interventions
– process improvement
– HR’s transformational role
– culture change
– leadership development
– team development
– conflict resolution
– supporting clients in major change and organisation design projects
– generalist system health practitioners; keeping the organisation healthy, ethical and agile to face future challenges
I found Linda’s presentation a good introduction to OD and to provide a lot of context to the range of work that OD includes.
Developing Your OD Agenda
Next we had Martin Saville present a fascinating OD model. Martin is an independent consultant and has his own practice – Martin Saville Consulting. The first point Martin raised is that those work in OD don’t come from a particular background, instead they have a mindset. That mindset is about looking at a complete organisation and finding ways to ensure each part understands that if a piece of work is to be achieved successfully, other relevant parts need to be involved, and if they’re not it has a direct impact on operational effectiveness.
The model he presented is called the Burke-Litwin model which hopefully is presented below clearly.

Okay so apologies for the lack of clarity – my first time trying to add an image to a post (any advice welcome). Essentially you have two broad categories of the way an organisation responds and reacts to change. There are transformational factors which are factors that drive the change. These include – the external environment, mission and strategy, leadership, the organisation culture and individual and organisational performance. Then there are transactional factors which you need in order for the the change to be effective. These include – structure, management practices, work unit, motivation, systems and processes, task requirements and individual and individual needs and values.
Once you take some time to think about an OD challenge you are facing, you can look at the Burke-Litwin model to help you identify what are the factors you’ve considered and which you do need to pay attention to. Martin admitted the model isn’t perfect and excludes some factors such as communication processes but it at least provides a holistic perspective of the factors which will help support and drive change.
The Emergence of the L&OD Function
This presentation was delivered by Lee Sears whom I have spoken about before in the post about the future skillset of L&D. The information he presented was no different to that, and if you’re interested, have a read of the post.
What it did help to do was re-surface his findings of how L&D and OD are becoming more and more entwined. Even though they are separate disciplines, the cross-over is becoming more commonplace, and in fact many HR/L&D/Project Management/Internal Communication specialists are all engaged in activities which are in effect OD, but they’ve just not been exposed to the terminology or processes or structures to help them think of it in that way.
Case Studies
There were some interesting case studies from the civil service and from a housing organisation that offered insights into how OD has helped with real organisational issues. Unfortunately, the decks weren’t available and so I can’t divulge information as it’s history now. From memory though, the housing organisation were reaching a point in their development where a number of mergers and formation of Group status meant OD played an important part in the way very different groups and senior management who had not worked together previously and were now expected to.
The civil service was an interesting case of a department whose resources had been outsourced with the remaining incumbents feeling bereft of responsibility and control over what the outsourcing company was producing and the quality of that work was in question. OD helped to bring this group to accept what their situation is, what they currently do, their responsibilities, and then included the outsourced company in conversations about current and future practices.
Where I’ve not included specific references to materials, all the above is taken from the respective individuals decks and is to be attributed to them directly unless otherwise stated.

>The future skill set of L&D part 1

>On Friday I attended a workshop on the future skills needed in L&D. It was hosted by the Training Journal and was part 3 in a series of workshops over the year. I’ve attended 2 so far this year and will be attending the last in November. If you’re in L&D, or have a vested interest in the value of L&D I highly recommend you attend. The next workshop is on the topic of the growing gap between OD and L&D. Sign up here.

Here’s a few things from the day that I thought were important.
Next Generation HR

This was an interesting presentation from Lee Sears (co-founder and director of Bridge) and Sue Stokely (founder of Coach in a Box). If you get a chance to listen to Lee talk on the circuit, I’d highly recommend it, he has an excellent presentation style and delivers a message very well. If you were following my tweets on Friday you may recognise the following learnings I picked up:
  1. The ability of HR needs to rest in identifying business issues not transactional issues
  2. L&OD is no longer about the individual necessarily. It’s about identifying the key movers and players in your business and investing in them.
  3. High quality dialogue should be used as a key change tool over and above ‘models’
  4. High quality HR and L&OD = business savvy + organisational savvy + context savvy
  5. L&OD are the best trojan horses for organisational change
  6. L&OD has become seduced by its own sophistication
  7. L&OD must have fundamental skills in diagnosing business issues and creating interventions that suit these.
  8. The best L&D people are business people first
  9. Greater self awareness does not equal ROI or business change/success
  10. Tomorrow’s leaders need to look at tomorrow’s problems/challenges
  11. Companies need to throw away competency frameworks as they are too restrictive and are only relevant to how your business used to operate, not how it needs to operate in the future.
  12. Sue reinforced the position that learning takes places in the following way – 70% informal, 20% network, 10% formal
The T-Shaped L&D person

Paul Fairhurst (principal consultant in the Institute of Employment Studies consultant team) then came and presented a talk about L&Ders needing to be ‘T-shaped’ people. In essence any good L&Der needs to have a broad understanding of what is happening in the business and a deep knowledge of L&D skills to work to business needs. Key to this is the ability to have consulting skills.
The IES have carried out some global CEO research and uncovered the following emerging themes:
  1. People are finding new ways to learn
  2. Continuous, informal, social learning will grow
  3. New technologies provide opportunities
  4. Informal learning to be recognised (accredited)
  5. Manager and individual responsibilities
  6. Boundaries between L&D and OD will blur
  7. There will be a shift in L&D professionals skill set
Learning for the next decade

Martyn Sloman is a research academic who specialises in learning and development and author of forthcoming e-book on ‘L&D 2020: A Guide for the Next Decade’. He presented a talk about his work with the New Zealand government and an organisation based in Singapore.
His research showed there are some key things an effective L&D person needs to understand and be able to do. First is a list of activities he recommends if you want to make a significant contribution to the organisation:
  • determine the skills needed to deliver value
  • investigate how they are best acquired/developed
  • ask ‘who are the key stakeholders in shaping the learning process’
  • seek to develop a learning culture
  • design, deliver and monitor interventions that promote learning
And you should be able to ask business leaders the following questions (and arguable be able to answer them yourself):
  • what is the nature of the business – how do you compete?
  • are there particular groups of the workforce who are critical to business value? Is there a cluster of workers? What knowledge and skills do they need?
  • how are these key skill required? Is it through: external recruitment, recruitment from within or training?
  • if they are trainable (or learnable) skills how are they trained/learned?
  • to what extent do you compete on knowledge and skills? How does learning and training add strategic business value?
  • looking to the future, what do you see changing on the business skills front?
A snapshot of the market

Francis Marshall gave the last presentation of the day. Francis is managing director of Cegos UK. Cegos have produced their annual international survey on L&d across 2000 employees in France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Unfortunately Francis had the witching hour and half of the delegates had left the workshop at this point (which I might add is very rude – you’re not that busy, don’t kid yourself). As such he raced through his presentation which was a shame as the findings he was presenting were very relevant to the discussion topic. Unfortunately it also means I have less notes and almost zero memory of the key takeaways from his presentation. This is unfair to Francis as it was interesting, just didn’t give the time he was deserved.
I’ve many thoughts about the day’s event and will do Part 2 later in the week. In the meantime if you have thoughts about the above please do let me know.