How serendipitous is OD?

At an earlier ODHE gathering we discussed what was meant by Organisational Development based on our understanding and practice and how that translated into individual experience. Examples of workforce planning and restructures were oft quoted, less so partnership approaches to holistic cultural change. Outputs were many and varied and no doubt all entirely relevant to specific universities and their cultures.

However, I’m still left with my musings at the time – how serendipitous is OD in practice?

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Bettina P-

How much does OD activity currently owe to a chance corridor meeting when a colleague shares a concern or issue?
Or a pre-committee informal chat with a couple of managers expressing their laments?
Or catch-up coffee chats when defences are down and off–the-record issues are shared?
Or an exploratory discussion with a manager wanting to tackle team behaviour, communication and/or culture issues?
How open are we to using these serendipitous accidents to use as a springboard for OD activity?
Or do we reflect on ‘normal’ activity and later claim it as OD activity?
And does any of this really matter as long as something happens??!!

And if it does matter, what makes it important to us as burgeoning or practised OD professionals?
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Sally Wilson spent 18 years in L&D in HE before becoming a Fellow of the Staff Development Forum and an Independent Consultant to higher education on organisational, leadership & team development and coaching.