Identify the top three to five most important takeaways from this course. Are your perceptions of the field any different than they were in the first week? If so, how?
There are many important takeaways from this course as it relates to the field of organization development including motivation, assessment and evaluation, conflict management, resistance, theories and models of change, and culture. One key takeaway I had was regarding assessments and the value they can bring to an individual and an organization. Assessments can be used in the diagnosis and evaluation phase to allow the consultant to better understand what is going on within an organization and then provides more data for the consultant to make a plan for an intervention (Rothwell, 2015). Additionally, focusing on the employees and what they bring to the table is valuing the most important asset a company has, which is their personnel (Chopra, 2017). Using an assessment such as Clifton’s StrengthsFinder and the 360 degree feedback assessment can add to the consultants evaluation of employees and the organization as a whole. Self-reports and other reliable measurements add to the data that the consultant needs to gather in order to formulate a plan moving the organization forward (Rothwell, 2015).
Another takeaway gained from this course is related to theories and models of change. Theories offer a framework for the consultant to work from as they determine what is best for an organization depending on their presenting issues. Theories and models that are grounded in research add credibility to the consultant’s work. Theories drive and inform practice and best practices are what is needed in the field to effect sustainable efforts (Jex & Britt, 2014). Utilizing a theory lays a foundation for applying principles practically. Working from a theory helps the consultant stay grounded in a framework and ensures adherence to evidence-based practices. A theory can also assist management in better understanding what the consultant is proposing to do. Theories and models allow the consultant to stay focused and connected to current literature on what works best. Lastly, the consultant needs to adopt a personal theory that they work from to guide their work. This provides a lens through which the consultant can view an organization, employees, conflict, resistance, and motivation (Rothwell, 2015).
Another key takeaway from this course is the concept of the mastermind group and specifically how they were designed to help like-minded people reach their goals and take their career to the next level (Gaining Traction, 2015; Ornstein & Baum, 2012). I appreciated the concept of the mastermind group as being to increase peoples confidence to reach their goals, adding a unique perspective to a problem or issue, and fostering respect and authenticity among colleagues (Ornstein & Baum, 2012). The research shows that mastermind groups produce positive outcomes as it relates to goal setting and generating additional insights for the person participating as well as increased confidence (Ornstein & Baum, 2012).
What professional development activities will you pursue in the next 6 months?
A professional development activity that would be worthwhile to pursue would be a conference related to the OD field. The goal would be to network with other professionals in the field, hear experts speak on a variety of topics, and learn about the most current best practices. Attending a conference can also lead to the identification of a personal theory, which is a goal of mine. Practicing a theory and its principles is an important part of building a professional practice (Zentis, 2017). Subscribing to a journal related to the OD profession is also an easy activity to undertake that can keep me current in the field and lead to other opportunities for learning. Also, looking within my own community for a mastermind group, whether related to the OD profession or not can enhance my focus on my career goals as a consultant.
Identify one or two key takeaways from the assessments (Strengths Finder and EIQ-16R) you completed in Week 1. In particular address the following two questions: How has your learning and growth during this course helped you improve and/or reinforce the assessed skills? How can these assessments, and similar ones, be used by OD consultants to benefit individuals and organizations with which they work?
One key takeaway from the assessments is that the results promoted self-awareness for me. It also gave me a new perspective on how it might feel as an employee to take an assessment on strengths and emotional intelligence. It is important for the OD professional to understand the assessments they may be asking employees to take. Having a high level of self-awareness is a key characteristic an OD professional needs to possess (Cheung-Judge, 2018). Additionally, it keeps the consultant close to the work and not so removed as the expert. They can be more relatable and humble when they have experienced it themselves. The same way the consultant will be possibly asking management to increase areas of emotional intelligence based on their results, they should be able to speak from a similar experience of recognizing areas of strength and opportunities for growth. The results of these assessments have helped me focus on a strength-based perspective, practicing identifying the strengths of those I work with and pointing out how the differences on my team are beneficial to us rather than a liability. A competency of the OD professional is the ability to help the organization identify its inherent strengths and increase their confidence in their ability to overcome their specific issues. The consultant fosters independence and creative thinking to problem solve their issues. When the consultant can point out and emphasize what the organization is already doing well and the strengths they naturally possess, the organization benefits as they begin seeing each other as being on the same team as opposed to adversaries. Assessments give the consultant a place from which to start and a potential path forward based on the results (Rothwell, 2015). For example, if the consultant discovers that a management team scores fairly low in an area of emotional intelligence that they think is impacting some of the current struggles of the agency, they can use the results of the assessment to promote an intervention that targets those areas for growth.
Cheung-Judge, M. (2018). The future of the organization and implications for OD. HR Magazine. https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/the-f…
Chopra, R. (2017). 360 degree performance assessments: An overview. Global Journal of Enterprise Information System, 9(3), 102105. https://doi.org/10.18311/gjeis/2017/16029
Gaining Traction. (2015). What is a mastermind group? [Video file]
Ornstein, H., & Baum, N. (2012). A mystical evening with the bright future of our profession. Podiatry Management, 31(2), 185.
Rothwell, W. J. (2015). Organization development fundamentals: Managing strategic change. Alexandria, VA: ATD Press.
Zentis, N. (2017). Future trends in organization development [Blog post]. https://instituteod.com/future-trends-organization…