OD and Leadership Development

05/11/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Organization development (OD) is an effort that focuses on improving an organization’s capability through the alignment of strategy, structure, people, rewards, metrics, and management processes. It is a science-backed, interdisciplinary field rooted in psychology, culture, innovation, social sciences, adult education, human resource management, change management, organization behavior, and research analysis and design, among others.

Organization development involves an ongoing, systematic, long-range process of driving organizational effectiveness, solving problems, and improving organizational performance.

Organization development initiatives are typically categorized as:

  • Techno-structural initiatives that include restructuring organizations (for example, mergers and acquisitions, flexible work design, downsizing, business process engineering, total quality management, quality of work life, Six Sigma, and Agile).
  • Human process initiatives that include team building, interpersonal and group process approaches, and coaching.
  • Strategic initiatives that include organization transformation, culture change, leadership development, and attraction and retention initiatives.
  • Human resource management initiatives that include employee engagement, employee experience, performance management, employee development, succession planning, coaching and mentoring, career development, and diversity awareness.

Leadership has been defined as the process by which an individual determines direction, influences a group, and directs the group toward a specific goal or mission. In a sense, leadership is what leaders do. The following have been observed:

  • Leaders do not just tell people what to do. Great leaders empower people to make decisions that support the goals and vision of the community, ultimately developing smarter solutions. Their job is to inspire and coach. Leaders coach to build a community that is fully participating, both responsibly and accountably. Leaders create buy-in at every level and ensure that all members of their community know that their contributions are important.
  • Leadership is a behavior, not a position. Leadership is inspiring people to live the vision, mission and values of the organization.
  • Management is not synonymous with leadership. Managers facilitate people, process and product. Good managers implement strategies and find solutions to problems. In contrast, the goal of any leader should be to get as many people living the vision as possible.
  • Leaders are not necessarily born; people can learn leadership behaviors. People who excel in performing their job and who take full responsibility within their communities are acting like leaders. Someone who looks to find a better, smarter or faster way of making things happen is acting like a leader. Yet some people are “born leaders,” and they are becoming ever more valuable.

Building a Leadership Development Strategy

Leaders deal with rapid changes brought about by new technologies, globalization, politics, environmental concerns and war, transforming the basic values, beliefs and attitudes of followers to build organizational capacity for positive change.

SHRM research indicates that both HR professionals and executives view leadership development as a major human capital challenge now and in the foreseeable future. In addition, executives would like to see stronger leadership qualities among the ranks of HR professionals themselves.


The exponential pace of change creates significant challenges to the development of new leaders. These challenges press against the limits of human capabilities both for leadership candidates and the people charged with nurturing new leaders. Even when the need to develop new leaders is recognized and actively pursued, significant institutional and individual obstacles may impede accomplishing this goal.

  • Limited resources, such as funding and time.
  • Lack of top management support in terms of priority and mindset.
  • Lack of commitment in the organization/culture.
  • Leadership development activities being too ad hoc (i.e., lack of strategy and plan).
  • Lack of administrative and learning systems.
  • The practice of looking for leadership only among employees already at the management level.
  • The practice of affording only management-level employees leadership development opportunities.
  • Failure to effectively assimilate new executives and new hires into existing leadership development programs.
  • Efficiencies of scale of larger organizations versus smaller organizations.
  • Lack of knowledge about how to implement a leadership development program.
  • Lack of long-term commitment to a leadership development program.
  • Lack of or failure to use sophisticated metrics to measure leadership skills or the effectiveness of leadership development programs.
  • The tendency to perceive leadership development as a luxury item subject to quick cost-cutting.


Organizations should consider different types of data when designing a leadership development scorecard to measure the effectiveness of leadership development programs and activities. Such data may include:

  • Participants’ level of satisfaction with leadership development activities and programs.
  • Indicators of the scope and volume of leadership development.
  • Learning and the acquisition of leadership knowledge and skills.
  • Business impact of applying leadership knowledge and new skills.
  • Application of leadership skills to various job situations.
  • Return on investment comparing monetary benefits with program costs.
  • Intangible benefits related to business measures such as work climate, job attitudes and initiative that cannot be converted into monetary values.