November 4th 2019
Webinar: CRF’s Organisation Development Manifesto – A Road Map for Progress
The need for business-focused, expert OD capability has arguably never been greater than it is today. To survive and prosper over the long term, organisations must be capable of adapting to ever more rapid market and technological change. There’s a huge opportunity for OD to help create high performing, high energy, innovative and productive organisations. However, OD’s track record in delivering organisational improvement is mixed, its remit is often unclear and its impact hard to measure. The challenge for OD is not just to help individuals improve, but to create the conditions for people, and the organisation, to flourish. Unless OD is capable of rising to this challenge, it risks becoming disconnected from the business or even irrelevant.
This webinar's panel consisted of:
- Gillian Pillans, Research Director at Corporate Research Forum
- Dr. Christopher Worley, Senior Research Scientist at Center for Effective Organizations (CEO)
- Annette Swinburn, Head of Transformation at Philip Morris
- Cindy Davies, Head of Strategic Resourcing at Thomson Reuters
- Danielle Lee, OD Specialist
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Gillian Pillans [00:00:01] Hello and welcome to today's webinar, where we're going to be discussing CRF's Organisation Development Manifesto, A Roadmap for Progress. My name is Gillian Pillans, I'm research director at Corporate Research Forum and I'm joined today by our panel. We have Cindy Davis, who's Head of Strategic Resourcing at Thomson Reuters. We have Danielle Lee, who's an expert in organisation development and was most recently Global Leader for organisation, design and development at HSBC. We have Annette Swinburn, who's head of transformation at Philip Morris, and we have Chris Worley, who's a Senior Research Scientist at the Centre for Effective Organisations and is also the author of the Bible on Organisation, Development and Change. So welcome to the panel.
For those of you who have participated in CRF webinars before, you know that we like to make these interactive and participative as possible. So I would encourage you to add to any questions that you have, please, fire away. We will deal with audience questions as we go through. And we will also be running a couple of polls to get your input in terms of the topics we're discussing.
So really the purpose of today's session is to discuss the OD manifesto that CRF has just published. We believe that OD is absolutely critical for building successful organisations, particularly in the context that we face in today's business environment. And we think there's a huge opportunity for OD, but perhaps a lot of work to do to make sure that the OD function as a discipline lives up to its potential in terms of business impact.
We wanted to create a momentum and a roadmap to improve the quality and the profile of OD as a discipline. So that's really what we're going to be talking about today. We'll be looking at what is OD? Why is it important in today's context to share some stories around how OD is helping transform businesses and to look at some practical takeaways in terms of how OD can up its game and improve business effectiveness?
So I'm got turn to our first poll. This is a little bit tongue in cheek. But we we've got four images that we think are different perspectives on OD. And we'd like to hear your points of view about which you think best fits the your perspective of OD today.
Is it perhaps more of a toolkit as it may be more of a sort of conversation? Is it maybe looking a bit tired like a 1970s avocado bathroom suite, or is it more like a circus troops, sort of agile and strong and flexible? So while you're thinking about your responses to that, we're going to kick off with our first theme, which is to talk about what we mean by O.D. and why it's essential in today's business context.
So, Chris, can we start with you? So in the manifesto, we describe how the roots, civility go back over many decades. But there's a degree of confusion around what we actually mean by OD and in fact, what the terminology itself stands for. So can you help us and give us a bit of a practical definition around what is OD and why does it matter today?
Chris Worley [00:03:24] Thanks, Gillian. Happy to do that. Or at least I'll give a take a shot at it. I think one of the things that in defining OD, because there's a there's a variety of definitions out there. If I look across them, what I would attend to notice is that almost all of them involve some sort of diagnostic activity that we want to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation or the system or the individual that we're working with. I think that almost all organisation development wants to see change in some particular system. Again, it could be anywhere from an individual to an organisation. The field is very concerned about the transfer of knowledge and skill to the system. In other words, as a result of the process, can the individual, the team or the organisation help itself in adapting to change and being more effective? And then lastly, I think we want to we're very concerned about the extent to which the organisation is getting better in terms of performance, and that could be financial. It could be social responsibility, it could be environmental kinds of issues. But we're interested in improving the effectiveness of the organisation. So I look across those definitions. There's this notion of change and learning and performance and diagnosis hit. And in terms of why I think the world is changing faster, I think digitalisation and other trends are potentially pulling us apart in organisation development sort of historically has always been interested in finding ways to pull us together. So I do think it's the kind of thing that the world is needing today.
Gillian Pillans [00:05:09] Okay. So if we can see what the results were coming through on the poll, we'll turn to that in a second.
Danielle, your perspective on this is perhaps more as a practitioner than an academic. And when we were preparing for the webinar, we were talking about the role that OD can play in making business change implementable and a critical role in terms of dealing with resistance and building trust. So I guess OD is in part about behaviour change. So can you share your thoughts on that?
Danielle Lee [00:05:42] Yes. Well, Gillian, I think, OD plays a real clear role in aligning the purpose of individuals and organisations, particularly through business change, where it's really important. And I think it does this by contributing to the perspective of behavioural signs. So applying that. And by that, I mean, I think there is a greater focus, therefore, on things relational as opposed to a business process focused. And this is a role that's quite distinct from practitioners, I think, who are doing purely organisational design mechanics represented in my mind by a lot of the work that the big four consulting firms do. And this sort of a role is also very distinct from the role played by comms people in organisations. So let me explain a little bit about what I mean by relational. I think good already practitioners are more likely to be attuned to and work actively on the psychological and emotional aspects of change which impact on behaviour. So this enables them to drop to play a key role in the design and implementation of change programs in a way that gets more robust and genuine support from stakeholders and people who are involved in that change. Now this is bearing in mind we're all dealing with human beings, you know, so we will have different agendas. You have 100 people in a room, you're going to have 100 different perspectives.
Danielle Lee [00:07:02] So OD puts takes into account. How do you deal with that difference? How do you bring that difference to the table and have a conversation that's on the table and attend to things that may not be said? So it's not just about dealing with resistance. I think I'd like to call it dealing with people's creative adjustments because all of us are trying to survive and cope the best we can through any change or through our daily lives.
Danielle Lee [00:07:30] So for me, a change program that is sensitive to and designed taking into account diverse human perceptions to change is more likely to succeed than one that is that just assumes, oh, people will accept the change as long as a we have a business case that we can articulate and B, there is logic to it. Actually in reality it doesn't happen. We are dealing with emotions, people's fear and anxiety about job losses. What's gonna happen to me, what's in it for me? So I think nobody practitioner attending to an intervening to raise organisations awareness to these sorts of thinking patterns of interaction power dynamics would help the organisation implement and then sustain the business change while keeping performance and organisational health levels high throughout that process. So in short, I think we're talking about influencing dialogue, fostering stronger relationships in a workplace in order to support change and performance. And this takes us very clearly into the zone of interventions and not just communications.
Gillian Pillans [00:08:36] Okay. Thanks, Danielle. So just turning to the results of the poll. So we have a pretty even split between A and D, so a half on the side of perhaps on the side of more of a toolkit, D looking at them, a more flexible, agile function. Fortunately, not many people think that we're out of date, which is good news. So thank you for your responses to the poll. An act you're in an industry that's going through massive disruption.
Gillian Pillans [00:09:07] So I'm thinking about the role that he plays in leading business transformation. How do you see that?
Annette Swinburn [00:09:17] So smoking has been around for hundreds of years. But this is the first time that the innovation, which has been transforming many other sectors and many other industries, has finally reached tobacco. And Philip Morris. We've made a global commitment to go smoke free, and that means we will stop selling cigarettes completely. So I believe that we're the company that's disrupting our own industry. And as we move our focus from selling conventional cigarettes to reduce risk products, which is primarily a product called I Costs, which is an electronic device that heats tobacco but does not burn it the way that we operate, our business has to fundamentally change to support this. And, you know, we believe that. Not just good for our business, but it should be good for society as a whole to thrive in this new world. I think leaders do recognise that we need to introduce new capabilities to our organisation. We need to organise ourselves differently. We're going to need to work in new ways. And these things, as Danielle said, are all inherently interconnected. You know, in order to do really good organisation design, you need to understand the whole of the operating model. And I believe that this is where ideas can start to lead on business transformation.
Gillian Pillans [00:10:32] And I think an overriding theme of the manifesto as well as this idea of systems thinking. So it's not one thing or another, it's it's taking a much broader perspective of where we trying to get to as an organisation and what are all the elements that have to align to make that happen. And Cindy and the team around you work is building organisation agility. So why is that important for your business?
Cindy Davis [00:10:57] I mean, I think put simply, if we don't build agility, we won't survive in the medium term. But I think we'd like to thrive more than survive. So Thomson Reuters operates in the information and technology sectors like many other organisations. We run the risk of being outpaced by both traditional and non-traditional competitors who are just more nimble than what we are. So for us, organisation agility is giving us the capacity to adapt and respond to what we see in the environment around us. But ultimately about delivering sustainable performance.
Gillian Pillans [00:11:34] Absolutely. Okay. So we've zero if we we did a big project on organisational agility a couple of years ago with Chris. And also we recognised that this is a key organisational capability that many, many organisations are now looking to build. And indeed, we recognise that in the manifesto, we recognise that businesses have to manage this tension between efficiency and control on the one hand and flexibility and agility on the other. If they're going to succeed in the longer term. So, Chris, I mean, this is a big question. But when we talk about agile organisations, what do we actually mean? What differentiates agile organisations and what does it take to achieve that?
Chris Worley [00:12:18] Actually, I think I would just repeat what Cindy said. I think she nailed it pretty well in terms of organizations that have the capability to to, you know, change in a timely way. In other words, they can figure out when it's necessary to change the, you know, the one that talked about the transformation at Philip Morris. They know it's time to change that. There's a recognition there and they're pulling it off. So there's that timeliness notion, the notion of effective change. Can the organisation sort of figure out what it needs to change and and identify the right changes to make those? Those changes have to be, you know, as Danielle was saying, both people oriented. And the transformation that that Annette was talking about is also organisational. So we have to figure out what the right changes are to make. And then those those changes have to get put in place. They solve problems. But we know that if there's one thing for sure, the changes we make today may not be the ones that we need in the future. So the organisation has to be able to adapt, not just once, but over and over again. And I think that's what's the distinction of agility is that ability to change not just once, but it becomes a routine, it becomes a capability. And that capability then confers on the organisation sustained levels of high performance. And I think that's one of the distinctions that that really makes agile organisations. It's not that it's not that you're successful today. It's that can you demonstrate that you've been successful over a long period of time?
Gillian Pillans [00:13:59] Okay. And what does your research show in terms of some of those common characteristics of organisations? There are presumably some themes that emerge.
Chris Worley [00:14:08] Yeah, I think we've we've sort of highlighted or been able to identify that in that within that capability of agility. There's there's four things that turn out to be fairly common. One is the ability to sort of refresh the strategy from time to time. We have this phrase that we use as strategy, as a wasting asset. Norwood's whatever your strategy is today. It'll last it'll be good enough for a little while. But technologies change and competitors change and markets get disrupted. And so you have to refresh that strategy. You need to have the ability to sort look, look ahead, look into the future a little bit, be able to begin to understand how trends are going to affect the organisation and have a really external point of view so that you can perceive the changes that you need to make. I think organised Jewish organisations are really good at testing and learning, experimenting, trying things out, failing fast, feeling in a safe way, succeeding in scaling, but they learn they're really just good at learning to change from. From these experiments, maybe the most obvious one is is is the ability to have a change capability and implement change. I think what's different today is organisations are not going through one change at a time. They're going through multiple changes in their ability to orchestrate multiple changes, as is one of the things I think a organisation, agile organisations are pretty good at and be one of the things that I think organisation development needs to get better at is handling multiple changes.
Gillian Pillans [00:15:52] Okay. Thanks, Chris. Cindy, for building this agile capability has been a key priority for your work at Thompson Reuters. But can you kind of take us to the next level of detail and describe what what does that look like? What sort of capabilities are you actually looking to develop? And then what are the things that you put in place to to achieve that?
Cindy Davis [00:16:14] Sure. I mean, I think in a way we've been we've got in our own way, as in the Thompson Reuters has been a fairly successful company for many years. And that can be an issue because you have a degree of hubris, I think. And in simple terms, we you said we need to get better at delighting our customers and we need to get to market faster. And so what we did over the last sort of 12 to 18 months is we we looked at the organisation at two levels. One, the company as a whole. And then secondly, our commercial areas where we have multiple teams combining to deliver value for customers. And so we spun up a series of pilots. So we were quite intentional in our commercial areas to say if we had to change the way we worked, what results would that yield in terms of cycle times and customer experience? And then we did some things at the organisation level. And the way I would characterise it is we had five levers and I'll clip through them each quickly.
Cindy Davis [00:17:15] So the first two was structural. So our operating model was very much a portfolio business in the past and we pivoted towards being more integrated with customer segmentation. So we kind of we architected our company around customer segments. The second was management hierarchies. We had way too many management levels between our frontline and the CEO. And so we've been delivering the company, which has been quite painful. But this is not about cost. It's about speeding up decision making. And it's about removing bureaucracy and driving empowerment deeper into our frontline. The third thing we did was we architect some of our key business processes. So Chris touched on this, for example, how we allocate capital much faster, more dynamic, our strategy formulation processes. We had to rethink in terms of how we did them and when we did them. And then our bottoms up, top down approach to objective setting and kind of determining the key results that we value as a company. The fourth lever is around culture and if you like, that's a wrap around. But we work collaboratively to say what are those new ways of working that we want in still in the company? And we're in the process of embedding that. We said new leadership expectations. Our previous leadership model was one of command and control and it got us results, whereas now we are very much around servant leadership. So how do you how do you breed a new set of leaders in that environment? And then the last lever was we knew we couldn't do this by purely relying on external consultants. And so we built our own business agility centre of excellence. It's a small team. And that's, if you like, is where we get a lot of the thought leadership to kind of infuse into the organisation. We're not in a position to declare victory. I think it's still too early, but we are in this for the long haul. But from our sort of intentional pilots, we've been able to see some success. So that tells us we're on to something, at least in the company.
Gillian Pillans [00:19:17] Absolutely. Okay. So unless I wonder if you could perhaps share a similar story in terms of the sorts of capabilities that you've been looking to to develop in order to to achieve the new business strategy and the sort of industry disruption that you're talking about.
Annette Swinburn [00:19:36] Sure. So from a structural perspective, in many of our markets where we're selling reduced risk products, we've designed and implemented a consumer centric organisational model. So we've disrupted our traditional, very functionally siloed, led focus and we've moved colleagues to work, cross-functional teams primarily focusing on project work, which is very different to a. Previous way of operating and to facilitate this, we've developed a method which we call fast forward, which is our sort of bespoke way of operating in an agile way in the project's space. Taking in some of the experiments and things which Chris described earlier, for us, it's a toolkit of interventions for colleagues to use on their projects. But it's also primarily about the way that people think is about mindset. It's about that ability to pivot and be curious every day. We do also have like a series of formal learning opportunities for colleagues at all levels, plus professional coaches to support people on the ground. But actually we see the main benefits about around being, you know, learning by doing on the job in day to day work. And I think, as Cindy mentioned, you know, collaboration is a capability that we're still trying to build. And frankly, it's one that we're still puzzling over a little bit and trying to get right. So we've taken some quite good steps forward through reducing the hierarchy, taking away some of the bureaucracy, building some shared performance goals for some of our people. We've also done things like changing our physical space. So, you know, we've moved to a hot desk gang. We've built collaboration space, says none of our executives in the UK sit in offices anymore. And today we continue to work quite hard to up skill and try and reward those those behaviours, the things that we want to see from people. But we're going to need to continue to focus on this. I think right. Throughout 2020.
Gillian Pillans [00:21:27] Okay. So we've had a question coming from Kelly asking whether there are any sort of practical, real life examples around specific interventions. So I wonder, perhaps Cindy and Annette, if you could perhaps pick up on one aspect of of the journey that you've described and perhaps give us a flavour of the sort of work that OD would be doing and the sort of outcomes that you'd be looking to achieve.
Cindy Davis [00:21:52] So one example, which is how do we bring our sort of strategy to life as objectives and key results or. Okay, awesome. This has been around for many decades. We certainly didn't invent it, but we underestimated what it would take to actually build good capability around setting a few stretching objectives and being ruthless around quantifiable ways to measure those objectives. And we had a performance management process and we switched to okay and was like putting lipstick on a pig and we had to spend two or three days with each management team really helping them understand what does a good objective and key result look like, how to minimise the threat to them. If these objectives were moonshot or aspirational because of course, their bonuses linked to it. And then how do they get comfortable reporting on failure? If if those objectives are not being delivered 100 per cent. So that's one example of kind of working with the business to build that muscle.
Gillian Pillans [00:22:57] Okay, great.
Annette Swinburn [00:22:59] So I would say making change in any organisation is really tough. And for us, changing an organisation that's operated in pretty much the same way for over 170 years is even tougher. And that is particularly difficult for some of our people who have been around at Philip Morris for a long time and are trying to make those steps to change in the new world. So one of the things that has become really important to us is communicate, communicate and then communicate a little bit more. And we have spent a lot of time globally designing a really compelling vision for our colleagues, which we call on smoke. And we use the opportunity to remind our colleagues about this as much as we can. We talk about our transformation program at a very practical level, and we also do a lot of colleague feedback. So we check in via pulse surveys. We have a colleague forum in the UK that we talk to colleagues and to try and understand how they're feeling, how the change is going for them, as well as the change that is happening for our consumers. And, you know, I think we've been quite lucky in that we've been really able to engage colleagues on this journey and people are becoming quite passionate about this drive to add a smoke free future. And they're really willing to come along with us on that journey, experiment, pivot, change, as we, you know, really explore the way that we're going to try and change our industry as a whole.
Gillian Pillans [00:24:25] Yeah, and I think it ties back with your work as well, Chris. The main purpose.
Gillian Pillans [00:24:31] We hear that as it as a key message. Organisations need to be clear about their purpose and their identity.
Gillian Pillans [00:24:38] And that's a way of building some momentum around what organisations are looking to achieve. Some of the questions that are coming in, they're really recognising just how difficult and painful that can be in practice. And you know, where we're talking about, on the one hand, some hard sort of structural changes. But on the other hand, we're talking about changes in behaviour. So, Danielle, you know, this is also about mindset and culture, and that's quite a tricky thing to achieve and seeing change in those areas.
Gillian Pillans [00:25:09] How do you do it? What's the answer?
Danielle Lee [00:25:12] I think it really differs from company to company culture change. You know, what is what is a healthy culture? Where do you want to go with that? And what how how do different companies define it? I'm sure Philip Morris defines it in a very different way. To Thompson Reuters. And if I were thinking about it, you know, there isn't a one size fits all. And also, organisations are at different levels of readiness to shift culture. And I think one of the things you remember is culture is in service of the strategy. We're not doing it for. For love, for the love of it. It's also to help us sustain performance to a crisis point earlier about, you know, the importance of sustaining the levels of performance.
Danielle Lee [00:26:02] So culture is there to support it, but there are so many ways that you can impact it. And I guess some of the some of the things that I've noticed in my career while working on culture change programs is the most successful ones are ones where there is a real desire to change or to shift the culture and mindset from the top. It's not just lip service and to the senior leaders are actually willing to look at how they show up, how they relate to each other, because the way they relate to each other and their presence really reverberates through the entire organisation. And sometimes this is behavioural sometimes is also impacted by the sort of processes that they've got in place. So, for instance, I can think of a client that I worked with, a footsie one hundred clients, where there was a performance review process that was introduced on the quarterly basis and people were calling and calling me to say how depressed they were. I had about two met middle managers, mid-level managers in their 40s, one of whom was almost in tears when he was on the phone with me talking about how depressed he was that he was feeling less like less of a man because of the kind of ratings he was getting every quarter. All of a sudden because other people around him were gaming the system. And my fantasy is that if we had planned more, more, you know, in terms of what a process like a quarterly performance review would do to the culture of the business, then we could have designed it in a way that supported and took into account the psychological impact on people's working lives and how they they felt that the energy levels that they they felt when they got into work every day and that would have improved or impacted their productivity levels at work and the sort of things they came up with.
Gillian Pillans [00:28:09] Okay. Thank you. One of the other questions that's coming from Emma is around reward and you're talking about the rule of reward and influencing behaviour change. So how do we reward the behaviours that you're looking to see? Chris, can you share some insights from your work? Have you seen this done well?
Chris Worley [00:28:26] Yeah. One example I would I would share would be the French is a French bakery company called Brioche Persky. And I think they'd have a really interesting reward system in that it every six months, people in the different plants and the plants where they make the different, you know, biscuits and course your panel chocolate. You know, all the different kinds of things that they have there every six months. The teams in the plants come up with a little mini contract, and the contract is based on a little mini diagnosis of what's happening inside the organisation. And and some view of the future that is represented by the by the strategy and each team or individual, it can very sort of commit over that next next to six months to building a new skill, developing some new knowledge, improving a process. But but but committing to doing some sort of change within the plant to make it more effective to make the plant a better provider for its customers. And the organisation then rewards those. So in addition to, you know, doing your job, the day to day job, getting costs on, you know, pushed out the plant with the right with the right cost levels and quality levels and that sort of thing. Everybody is also rewarded for thinking about and. And developing a skill or knowledge or a process that contributes to change. Which is also rewarded. So the notion of being effective day to day and changing both are built into the reward system. And I think that's it's a really cool example of how to do that.
Gillian Pillans [00:30:17] Okay. And another question that's come in is them arranged the interplay between size and agility. So we're talking about a lot of large global organisations and those are not necessarily things that you would associate with with being fast and agile and adaptable. So the challenge from from Barry is them. Is it possible to achieve true agility in large, complex organisations or is it in practice only really in small organisations where you can do this?
Chris Worley [00:30:51] I can certainly share the results from the research. What what we notice is that really small organisations, let's say under 200 people just by the nature of that size. People tend to know each other. They're familiar with each other. The relationships are really clear and actually building the routines of agility, the kinds of things that, you know, that we've been talking about here. They're fairly costly. And so small organisations should actually take advantage of their size and their set of relationships and use that to their advantage. Once you get to large organisations, you know, something akin to, you know, 10000 people or more. The advantages from investing in the capability start to show up. And I think that's a that's something to consider because the you know, if you're operating in an environment like Thomson Reuters, where the technology is changing, the expectations are changing all the time. You have to build that internal capability to to adapt as opposed to, you know, waiting for, you know, a set of disruptions to occur that force you to change. So I think there is there's some advantage of doing that once you get to a certain size.
Gillian Pillans [00:32:15] Yeah. And it's got to be a deliberate process of building that and designing into the organization, not just hoping that it will happen. As you get bigger, I guess, is what you think. And so.
Annette Swinburn [00:32:27] So, you know, it's it's been very interesting for for us at Philip Morris because there is genuinely no blueprint for what we're doing. Heated tobacco is a new category. There is no other organisation that we can look at and reflect on what they're doing. So we really have no choice but to be agile, to experiment and, you know, to try some of these things out. And interestingly, we have about 300 people in our U.K. affiliate and our M.D. has been hard to describe as a bit like a Start-Up with some money behind us. So I think this still resonates for me and my current experiences.
Gillian Pillans [00:33:09] Okay. So I'd like to spend the last 15 minutes of the webinar. I'd like to turn to back to looking at OD as a function, as an as a specialism and just thinking about perhaps what some of the barriers are to success as a duty professional and how we can address those. So we'll start off the section. We're going to move to another pole. In the Sera food manifesto, we identified six key barriers to total effectiveness. Be very interested to hear your perspective in the audience. Which to you see as the greatest obstacle for your organisation. So we've got six here. There's a reluctance to engage with the business. There's overreliance on methodology. The temptation of simplistic solutions. A lot of the discussion today has been around. You have to do multiple things altogether. There's a narrow focus on the financials. It's perhaps an overreliance on data analytics or there's a lack of a platform for what from which to influence who had been talking about power dynamics as we've gone through the conversation. So if you can just take a moment to to select, which do you see as the biggest barrier in your organisation will continue the conversation and then we'll come back to the results. So in the manifesto, we identified five preconditions for success in OD. We talked about this five P's. There is power. So operating from a position of influence, there is presence. The impact of these depends on the quality of interaction with organisational leaders. There's positioning. So we need to be focusing on issues pertaining to business success or whether that's innovation, productivity, increasing speed to market. Since he's been talking about there's pervasiveness, OD needs to be at the centre of the action. And then there's professional. And so we need to be investing in skills, knowledge and credibility of the function to drive success. So I'd like to spend a bit of time pulling out some of these themes and getting some perspective from our panellists. Danielle, we talked about parent presence. Those are about personal impact and relationships. And it seems to me one of the barriers to effectiveness as an early professional is you have to be in the right conversations with influence at the right time. So how do you how can you do that as an old practitioner? What practical steps can you take to make sure that you are in the right place with the right credibility to speak truth to power? Yes.
Cindy Davis [00:35:39] So, Gillian, I suppose I operate mainly as a career interim. So most of the time I am like the O.D. partner or working hand hand-in-hand with the H.R. director or head of H.R.. So I suppose in terms of thinking around position of influence, when I get my the brief from my client, I would first check out what is the level of sponsorship from the senior stakeholders that are involved in a change and what is the real energy in that group for a desired change? Because you could have just, you know, verbal approval, but really not real support. So I think that would be my first first point of looking in to see what support are we going to have 4 4, OD, to play an influential role. And also the relationship. Therefore, if I'm working with my head of H.R., what's their relationship with the senior sponsors to the extent that they can all that influence can also be leveraged.
Cindy Davis [00:36:40] Particularly, I think, in cases of culture change where there is usually for it to be effective, quite a bit of work to be done at the senior leadership level. And then I suppose the manifesto talks about prisons and in terms of credibility, speaking the language of the business.
Cindy Davis [00:36:57] If you have a background in some of the hard stuff like finance, if you're comfortable speaking in terms of numbers, et cetera, there'll be a lot easier to have that conversation with us, with the business stakeholders.
Cindy Davis [00:37:12] And I suppose more generally, if I think about how OD or H.R. practitioners can establish trust and therefore their presence in organisations, I would say it's really imperative for us to work on ourselves.
Cindy Davis [00:37:24] Now, this might be a good start view of OD where we are talking about the use of self as an instrument.
Cindy Davis [00:37:29] But for me, a large part of this means having a strong enough sense of self so we can stay grounded, creative and generative when we are tested by our clients or challenged by our stakeholders. So when this core is strong and secure enough, it becomes a source of courage that allows us to speak truth to power. Courage to be a sufficiently provocative agent when provocation of the system is needed.
Gillian Pillans [00:37:56] That's great. And it's really interesting because looking at the results of the poll, we're seeing, you know, quite an overwhelming response. Just under half of respondents saying that the main barrier is lacking a platform from which to influence.
Gillian Pillans [00:38:09] So clearly, you know, one of the challenges that people are feeling is obtaining and maintaining that position of influence. So that's going to be a key area to focus on.
Gillian Pillans [00:38:21] I think the other thing that we were talking about when we were preparing for the webinar was the connection between business strategy and OD.
Gillian Pillans [00:38:31] And that is another essential relationship. In terms of being being successful. So how do we had to 30 professionals get build and maintain the right relationship with the strategic influencers in the organisation?
Annette Swinburn [00:38:48] So, look, I absolutely believe that organisation design is is what makes strategy happen. And therefore, you have to partner closely with a strategy function in the organisation in order to be effective. And I'm delighted to borrow a quote from a great baseball player, Yogi Berra, who said, in theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is. And, you know, my experience shows me that what looks good on paper sometimes doesn't actually work in the real world. And I think what OD can do is make the connection from strategy into organisational principles that you then use to test your design. And the shift in strategy is always going to affect the value chain if your organisation. And that will then instigate a requirement to do some fundamental redesign on some of your processes. I do, however, think, though, that one of the things that gets in the way of the relationship working as it should is HR and strategy. Professionals sometimes just speak different languages. And I think it's important that we take some logic in some regard to. Translate strategy into action. I again, I really expect to have some quite challenging discussions with leaders to determine really what matters the most in terms of your design. And I know I would repeat a theme that we've had before, which is I think that the A.D. can really be the catalyst for bringing senior leaders out of their functional silos, asking them difficult questions and challenging their thinking.
Gillian Pillans [00:40:24] So there's a strong theme here in terms of courage. Being prepared to ask those awkward questions to facilitate collaboration in a way that's not necessarily all was comfortable, but needs to be done. Cindy, you've you're responsible as one of your roles within Thomson Reuters for actually recruiting internal OD specialists. So hearing this discussion and and their response, what are you looking for when you are looking to hire these people? What what's this sort of secret sauce?
Cindy Davis [00:40:57] Sure. So I wish I'd had this manifesto 12 months ago or in fact, this webinar. But. So, again, we were setting up this business agility, sort of small centre of excellence. And the people that we hired are, in effect, OD practitioners or consultants. But we chose not to call them that. We call them business agility coaches. And we also knew we had to go external because this was new. We wanted some external fresh thinking. And so there was I would say about 75 percent of them we hired externally 25 percent. We recruited from within. And essentially we were looking for four things which initially turned out to be a bit of the elusive unicorn. And we made some mistakes early on. But then I think we course corrected. So firstly, commercial serving us, we needed people that ideally had a track record in running a PML or leading a transformation. We had scepticism internally. They were working directly with senior leaders. We need people to understand their reality. No question. And also for credibility purposes. The second was consulting skills. So the ability to diagnose what really was going on to be able to contract with the leaders or teams they were working with and not to collude because they were in some cases delivering some tough messages. Third was systemic thinkers, not driving point solutions for was a really good understanding of the theoretical underpin, but not being slaves to particular models of processes. And then last but not least, the ability to influence a complex stakeholder group. So that's the ideal unicorn, if you like, that we were hiring for. And how many of those did you find?
Cindy Davis [00:42:41] We found a few. We lost a few.
Cindy Davis [00:42:46] But I think that the business acumen was the rest you can teach in in some respects you can teach. But that that seemed to work to work out for us.
Gillian Pillans [00:42:55] Okay. So we're down to our last two minutes in the webinar. I'd like to just finish on a practical note for those listening today. And I'll start with you, Chris. Thank you. At this discussion around the capabilities required of OD today and looking into the future. One thing, would you like to see these professionals really focusing on?
Chris Worley [00:43:17] So the way I think about it is, is we've got to become more versatile. Right. Not just a specialist in one thing or a generalist and all things, but we've got to have two or three growth. Danielle, table stakes ought to be, you know, a strong core knowledge of self to do this work. I think you really have to have that. But if I was going to add one thing to that, it would be the word design skills. I think there's a bunch of choices that organisations are making today as they move to agility. And Philip Morris and Thomson Reuters are giving us plenty of good reasons here to talk about this. They've got to be good at rogue design and be able to mirror those things together.
Gillian Pillans [00:44:00] Okay. Cindy, if you were to go back 12 months, 24 months and you were going to advise your former self of what your key learning is being, what one thing you might want to do differently, what would that be?
Cindy Davis [00:44:13] I think slowed down to build more internal support.
Cindy Davis [00:44:17] We prioritised pace over precision. And sometimes you have to do that. But I think, you know, don't underestimate in those early stages of building the coalition.
Gillian Pillans [00:44:29] Okay. And a key thought from you.
Annette Swinburn [00:44:32] I would say for me, it comes back to the systems thinking. But I think that has to be combined with a real natural curiosity about your business. If you're going to be operating in a world which is very agile, very volatile. You really need to be interested in the way that things work. OK.
Danielle Lee [00:44:48] Daniel, I think, you know, stay in touch and keeping abreast of developments in the design and development world for innovations.
Danielle Lee [00:44:58] Ways of thinking would be really important.
Gillian Pillans [00:45:01] OK, so I'd like to just thank all our panellists and our audience for your contribution today. The conversation will continue on Twitter and on the webinar platform. We'll also be sending round the on demand recording that you'll be able to access and any questions that we didn't get a chance to deal with. We'll be following up with as well. So thank you very much to everyone. Thank you. Thank you.
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