Last month, I read an article from Harvard Business School professor and disruptive innovation expert, Clayton Christensen. In it, he argued that the reason why it's so difficult for existing businesses to capitalise on disruptive innovations is that their processes and their business models, which make them good at the existing business, actually makes them incredibly bad at competing in this new working climate.
This got me thinking about organisational development and design; because while these are two of the most fundamental roles within an HR professional's remit, or so I believe, they are talked about very rarely. In fact, run a quick search online and the first few pages are filled with academic papers about the topics; rather than best practice insight and examples of the concept working in reality.
I find this particularly strange though I guess unsurprising. While my job title specifically includes organisational development, very few of my peers have the same (though of course a job title isn’t everything; it’s merely an interesting viewpoint). I would also argue mine may need to include 'design' as well in the future…
So what is the difference? In simple terms and how it truly relates to what we do, organisational development is about developing talent in the right way to address the right needs of the business. Organisational design is ensuring you have the right people focusing on the right things so they are empowered to solve the right problems in the right way aligned to the business strategy, culture and values. In a way they are very similar however, what differs is the thought process.
When you really think about it, both ODs relate to absolutely everything – engagement, development, purpose, values, culture, external markets, behaviours, procedures and processes. Yet, organisational design is the foundation of the business and, in this uncertain and ever changing business environment is absolutely critical to the success and growth of a business.
As Christensen alluded to in his article, if you have the wrong design then it makes it incredibly difficult for you to challenge and be a progressive business in an increasingly competitive marketplace.