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Guest Opinion
Organization development takes special set of skills


Source: Boulder County Business Report

Author: Theresa M Szczrurek, Marilyn Blair

Has your organization faced these issues?

-The ink has barely dried on the merger agreement between two large firms, when the inevitable challenges appear. Cultural clashes surface in principles, processes, products, communication styles and more. People, the most important corporate asset, feel the pain, grieve personnel losses and lose productivity.

-The executive leadership group of a high-tech firm is continually facing internal conflict resulting in inadequate and prolonged decision-making.

-A municipality whose operating budget was slashed due to lower tax revenues is looking for a streamlined organization structure that offers customer-centric responsiveness.

Many area businesses are facing these and other critical challenges right now in the Colorado metropolitan area.

The risk of not addressing these issues is too large to ignore. What to do? One smart response is what more and more savvy business people are doing - seek organization development help from an experienced OD consultant.

What is organization development?

 According to Thomas Cummings and Christopher Worley in their book, "Organization Development and Change," organization development is a systemwide application of behavioral science knowledge to the planned development, improvement, and reinforcement of the strategies, structures and processes that lead to organization effectiveness. ... OD's behavioral science foundation supports values of human potential, participation and development. As a result, OD's distinguishing feature is its concern with the transfer of knowledge and skill such that the system is more able to manage change in the future."

Why organization development? What are the benefits?

Organizations continue to face rapid technological, economic, competitive, political and cultural change. OD helps organizations thrive amid the torrents of change. When handled with skill, the results of OD positively aff

ect the top and bottom lines.

Every kind of organization change is better served when an appropriate organization development process is used. Routinely, the benefits are: More productivity, efficient and effective operations, improved competitiveness, overall economic vitality, decisions that are smart and produce the desired results, and people who are happy and continually improve their performance. Who does OD? Organization development specialists, who ordinarily have graduate degrees, work with businesses, nonprofit, government and educational institutions including colleges and universities - all organizations have a need for OD at various times in their business cycle. Organization development specialists may be internal or external consultants and counselors, as well as line and staff managers who see their roles as facilitators of change and organization effectiveness.

Here's what to look for in choosing organizational development help.

Hire a master-level practitioner who meets the standards of a peer review process. Ask what experience do you have in helping create effective and efficient organizations? Ask what ongoing professional development do you engage in? Ask what credentials or certifications do you hold? Ask what theories do you regularly operate from? Ask what are your ethical standards and how do you put those into practice?

Associated Consultants International, a Colorado-based nonprofit business association, was founded in 1971 to establish clear criteria for competence in organization development; to develop standards for practitioners; and to certify those who meet or exceed those standards. ACI members experience that peers provide excellent evaluation of competence through a process for periodic professional review and member certification. We know that this process results in reliable decisions with regard to the proficiency of individual practitioners.

<i>Theresa M. Szczurek. and Marilyn Blair are certified organization development consultants and officers of Associated Consultants International. You can reach them at and respectively.</i>

<b>Celebrate Organization Development</b>

Featuring: Edith and Charles Seashore, leaders in the OD field.

Topic: Intentional Use of Self in

Consulting, Leading and Coaching.

Reception:  5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 17.

Workshop: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 Thursday and Friday, May 18-19.

Where: Sun Microsystems in


Who should come: Members of the business, government, education, and nonprofit communities involved in developing organizations, especially leaders, human resourse and organization development practitioners, coaches, OD students and faculty.

Offered by: Associated Consultants International.