Information, tools and resources about Organisational Development.
As stated in our Mission, Outdoors Queensland’s primary purpose is ‘to raise the profile, capacity and opportunity for outdoor recreation in Queensland and encourages all people to recreate outdoors’. To proactively address the responsibility inherent in our Mission, we are committed to providing information, tools and resources to the sector on a variety of topics, such as Risk Management, Staff Development, Industrial Relations, WH&S, Governance, Media Management and Organisational Development.
What is Organisational Development?
“Organization Development is an effort planned, organization-wide, and managed from the top, to increase organization effectiveness and health through planned interventions in the organization’s ‘processes,’ using behavioral-science knowledge” (Richard Beckhard, “Organization development: Strategies and Models”, 1969).
Put more simply, it is the practice of ‘changing people and organisations for positive growth’. (Australian HR Institute)
Why Organisational Development
Outdoors Queensland encourages our Green Circle Members and other businesses operating in the outdoor sector to review the way they manage their businesses, and provides appropriate easy access resources. We have developed this set of resources because we believe there is a need for small to medium business in the outdoor sector to improve the way they operate, manage staff, market and present themselves to their potential clients.
We initially engaged Andrew Murray, from Applied Adventure, to deliver a series of 4 Articles (see below) on the topic of Organisational Development and to facilitate 2 Workshops to explore the issues, the options and the way forward. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Andrew was unable to be involved, so, we engaged executive leadership and business coach Bec Fox from www.becfox.com.au to come aboard as the 2019 facilitator of the Organisational Development workshops.
Organisational Development Training & Services
Sport Australia’s Game Plan is a digital platform designed to provide sporting clubs of all sizes with insights into their current capability and connect them with specific tools and resources to build and support ongoing development. It will replace the existing Club Health Check.
Game Plan is designed to:
- Assess a club’s capability and performance at a time relevant to them.
- Identify areas for improvement.
- Provide access to relevant resources to support club development.
- Inform the direction and priority of activities and investment to build capability.
Organizations spend billions of dollars each year on leadership development. Yet research has shown that many of these programs don’t seem to work — they fail to help individuals develop the sorts of dynamic, collaborative leadership skills needed for today’s work.
In our research, teaching, and consulting on leadership development, we’ve been inspired by the success of one particular form: wilderness adventure expeditions, where people develop and refine their leadership as they and their team navigate the interpersonal and physical challenges of trekking through the wilderness. By forcing people to work collaboratively, develop new skills, and take control of their decisions and outcomes, the austere environment can help expose key facets of leadership and team interaction that might otherwise be overlooked in “normal” settings.
In our own experience leading these kinds of expeditions, including a leadership development expedition course for MBA students (a 10-day course either sea kayaking off the coast of Belize or backpacking in the mountains of Norway), we’ve found that they effectively achieve many of the goals of modern leadership development. These expeditions help participants develop their ability to tackle complex challenges, make strategic decisions in ambiguous situations, and collaborate and learn with their team — precisely the attributes desired in modern organizational leaders. They also help build adaptability and resilience.
While outdoor expeditions and adventure leadership activities are used in a variety of organizations (including at NASA for training and building trust in astronaut teams), we of course recognize that they require significant time, resources, travel, and physical ability, which may not be accessible to all leaders and companies. Yet, we believe that there are at least four characteristics of these expeditions that can be adapted and applied to improve many other types of leadership training and developmental programs:
Complex, unfamiliar experience. A wilderness expedition naturally places people in unfamiliar environments that require them to adopt new skills and ways of interacting to be successful. Arriving at a remote island, with no cell reception, and being handed a tent, stove and kayak paddle is not a normal weekday routine for most people. It forces them into new patterns of action and opens the door to new habits and working styles.
This novelty unlocks opportunities for people to step up in new ways and reveal untapped aptitudes and attitudes that can bolster their leadership. Even for experienced adventurers, the ambiguity inherent in an expedition (e.g., dealing with unpredictable weather and other conditions) forces people to stretch themselves as they work with their team.
Unfortunately, we see many of the opposite trends in more traditional, “indoor” leadership development efforts. For example, a traditional leadership training course might include a lecture on general leadership ideas, combined with feedback or coaching on what the individual is doing well or poorly in their current role. Though informative, these structures miss an opportunity to expand beyond what the person already knows how to do and hone their leadership for new environments. Simply focusing on general principles or reflecting on past behavior doesn’t provide the same opportunity to unlock new, untapped potential or learn how to respond in the kinds of unfamiliar, ambiguous settings the person might face in the future.
Similarly, we often see team leadership “retreats” that place people in a similar environment to their day-to-day work (e.g., a conference room). As a result, relatively little new insight or development occurs, because people simply fall back on their well-learned habits and patterns of interaction. An expedition naturally forces everyone to adapt to a new situation, but indoor development efforts could take advantage of this principle by moving to a new setting where existing hierarchies are less relevant (e.g., even something as simple as an “escape room” exercise). A new experience forces people to shake up their habits and reveals pockets of knowledge, insight, and potential that might have been hidden.
Purposeful preparation. Very few people would show up for a wilderness expedition without doing a good bit of homework — preparing physically, logistically, and mentally for the challenge ahead — and setting goals. Then, actually embarking on the expedition requires a high degree of intentionality and focus, forcing people to disconnect (literally and figuratively) from their day-to-day work setting. This preparation and intentionality enables them to engage more thoughtfully in their experience and draw potentially unexpected insights about leadership and behavior — both their own and others’.
For instance, we have many women and men in our expedition courses who are military veterans — people you’d expect would be comfortable leading a team in a remote, austere environment, and thus might default to taking the lead. Yet with the opportunity to be purposeful and think about the developmental goals they have for the expedition, these students often seek to use it as an opportunity to step back and learn from others’ leadership in order to better understand how to transition their military leadership to the corporate world.
The benefits of preparation and setting developmental goals are certainly not limited to an expedition setting, but a remote environment often encourages this preparation in ways that more traditional leadership development efforts do not. All too often, leadership development programs are seen as unwelcome burdens on one’s calendar, with any preparation left to the last minute. It’s also common for people to stay connected during training courses, responding to email or checking in with colleagues at the expense of fully engaging in their own development. And in team settings, retreats and “off-sites” can quickly devolve into complaint forums or focus on technical, process-improvement discussions, rather than on individuals’ development goals.
Continuous, multisource feedback. During our expedition courses, students receive a large volume of feedback on their leadership and performance. The work of an expedition itself provides excellent feedback – the team ends up where it intended to be on the map (or doesn’t), the tent stays dry (or not), and everyone leaves camp on time the next morning (or a dinner in the dark awaits). We also have nightly debrief meetings as a team, and dedicated peer feedback partners provide each person with effective reflections, observations, and advice over the trip.
Again, the benefits of ongoing, thoughtful feedback are not unique to the expedition setting, but it goes without saying that a lot of feedback in organizations is given too little, too late, and much isn’t effective. Leadership development interventions also tend to feature sporadic instances of feedback every week or month, or aggregate feedback (as in a 360-degree assessment) that paint a leader’s behavior in broad strokes, distant from when and where the behavior occurred and could be addressed.
Repeated challenges. Wilderness leadership development also benefits from the repetitive nature of life in the outdoors. Each day of the expedition is different in some ways, but revolves around a similar set of challenges (e.g., pack, navigate, break camp, etc.). When combined with the continuous feedback described above, this repetition gives individuals an opportunity to actually implement new behaviors after receiving feedback, closing the loop on their development by testing out new actions immediately and gauging the difference in outcome.
For instance, we see students struggle through a particular task (e.g., working together to prepare a meal on camp stoves), debrief the challenges that emerged, and then wake up the next day with an immediate opportunity to implement the lessons learned when it is time to cook again. Though improvement is not always immediate, the repeated opportunities aid students’ learning and help them incorporate different behaviors in real time during the course, which can help them bring these behaviors back to their work.
In our minds, this element of repetition is one of the major missed opportunities of many leadership development programs or team training efforts. Leadership programs or team-building exercises are too often “one-offs,” and even when adequately debriefed and reflected upon, the intention is to simply take the lessons home and implement them in their workplace. But without the opportunity to practice putting these insights into practice right away, the positive changes or intended behaviors can be lost.
This gap allows new information to be forgotten, insight to fade, intention to waver, and confusion to set in. Knowing that the transfer of leadership behavior from training settings to the workplace (where systems and structures are still built on the “old” way of doing things) is already an uphill battle, giving individuals immediate practice in applying new behaviors or strategies can help them bring these ideas to work more effectively.
Unmediated by technology, competing demands, or office politics, the wilderness distills many facets of leadership and team interaction down to their essence. Yet, we think that these four elements of outdoor expeditions can shed light on how leadership and team development efforts in any setting might be enhanced.
Though we will always take any opportunity to move leadership development out of the office and into the wild, recognizing and applying these principles to all leadership development activities might be a way of bringing the outdoors inside and expanding the growth of leadership in organizations.
by Christopher G. Myers and Mike Doyle
Read original on Harvard Business Review
“The recent passing of Steve Jobs got me wondering what the rest of us mere mortals could learn from such a visionary businessman and creative genius.”
Carmine Gallo’s book, The innovation secrets of Steve Jobs, distils Jobs’ philosophy down to seven principles. After thinking about how I can apply those ideas to a new venture a friend and I are planning, here’s what I came up with.”
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t
Some companies have always been great, such as Coca-Cola. Good to Great by Jim Collins isn’t about this type of company. It’s about companies who were good for a long time and then somehow became great for a long time. To find those companies 1,435 companies were examined over a 40 year period. From this research, eleven great companies were found. And the question this book attempts to answer is how did these companies become great, and are those lessons repeatable?
The answer is surprisingly simple, pragmatic and straightforward.
Finding True North, by Michael Henderson, is a book devoted to helping you understand and clarify your values in order that you can lead a more fulfilling life.
‘Our values are our personal preferences and priorities. Values represent what is most important to us in our life’
After explaining what values are the book then takes you through a step by step process to help you to clarify your own personal values and apply them within your own life.
The concept is named after James Stockdale, who was a US Navy Vice-Admiral. Stockdale was a prisoner of war for over seven years during which time he was tortured many times.
When asked how he handled the uncertainty of his outcome he said,
“I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
When asked which kind of people didn’t survive, Stockdale said it was the optimists. The ones who, for example, believed they’d be out by Christmas. Christmas then came and went. And so did the following Christmas. And several more. And eventually, they gave up and died demoralized and of a broken heart.
So, as you can see the Stockdale Paradox is a philosophy of duality. It involves having the discipline to confront the brutal facts about your situation. But at the same time, it involves never losing faith that you will prevail in the end.
Business, and of course life, will inevitably throw lots of difficulties at us. But it is how we handle these difficulties that will have the biggest impact on the course of our lives and our business.
Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model
Implementing change powerfully and successfully
Change is the only constant (Heraclitus, Greek philosopher)
What was true more than two thousand years ago is just as true today. We live in a world where “business as usual” IS change. New initiatives, project-based working, technology improvements, staying ahead of the competition – these things come together to drive ongoing changes to the way we work.
Whether you’re considering a small change to one or two processes, or a systemwide change to an organization, it’s common to feel uneasy and intimidated by the scale of the challenge.
You know that the change needs to happen, but you don’t really know how to go about doing delivering it. Where do you start? Whom do you involve? How do you see it through to the end?
There are many theories about how to “do” change. Many originate with leadership and change management guru, John Kotter. A professor at Harvard Business School and world-renowned change expert, Kotter introduced his eight-step change process in his 1995 book, “Leading Change”.
The process of reviewing Organisational Development can include:
- Leadership development
- Team Building
- Mission, Vision & Values
- Staff and career development
- and …
The benefits of going through the process of Organisational Development might include:
- empowering leaders and individual employees
- creating a culture of continuous improvement and alignment around shared goals
- making change easier and faster
- putting the minds of all employees to work
- enhancing the quality and speed of decisions
- making conflict constructive instead of destructive
- giving leaders more control over results, by giving employees more control over how they do their jobs.
The potential outcomes of an Organisational Development review may include:
- profits (cost reduction, for non-profits)
- customer satisfaction
- product and service quality
- cost effectiveness
- organisational flexibility
- personal feelings of effectiveness
- job, work, and life satisfaction
Source: Australian HR Institute
It is with some trepidation that I commence writing this.
Inevitably there will be people who disagree or who know better than me – either actually or in their own opinion … the issue of organisation development is highly relevant to me right now, both professionally and personally as I launch new businesses which will work with businesses on business issues!
Starting out – where do I start? Probably with the aspiring entrepreneur.
Some questions to ask: How comfortable am I with risk?
When I first saw these terms pop up, and read what organisations were saying about themselves, I thought that this was corporate claptrap. And these can quickly become just that.
Essentially these should form the “spine” of an organisation, telling the world , and the owners, what the business stands for and forming a sort of compass to assist in navigating the business’ world …
Leadership is an interesting term that gets bandied about, used and abused in the Organisational Development literature. It took me about 25 years in the field to crystallise my thinking about just what leadership is and is not. Maybe having a look at leadership will reveal some of the common themes in the successful operation of organisations, because – when I look at it, effective leadership appears to do the same across all organisations.
I have arrived at the following definition of leadership:
“Leadership builds and maintains sustainable and productive communities.”
In my capacity as “Work Safely at Heights Supervisor” I was engaged by the British television company ITV to run the height safety for both their film crews and the celebrities in a “live” episode of the British version of “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here” at a site with rocky cliffs and deep gorges in SE Qld
I engaged three of my similarly skilled and qualified associates and spent 3 days on this job. Day 1 was a recce day to sort what they wanted to do, Day 2 was a setup day where we got rigs ready or at least decided how to rig what and Day 3 was filming.
On the day we had 5 of 3-man camera/sound crews on rock along with 4 celebrities, their WHS adviser and sundry others. Everyone had to be safe. Oh yeah and their cameras were worth $170k each so they were pretty keen to look after them too.
Interestingly, the easiest person to keep safe was the cameraman who we hung 10 metres down the 30 m abseil cliff. Once he was harnessed up and provided with a bosun’s chair, we lowered him and his camera into place and tied him off – he was going nowhere and behaved impeccably (he had no choice).