Organisational Development Approach

Organisational Development (OD) is about improving performance at the individual, group and organisational levels. It is about improving the organisation’s ability to effectively respond to changes in its external environment and it’s about increasing internal capabilities through ensuring the organisational structures, human resources systems, job designs, communication systems and leadership/managerial processes fully harness human motivation and help people function to their full potential.

Done well, such improvement can be transformational –producing fundamental changes in the way individuals, groups and organisations function.

Human Synergistics are world leaders in the field of data driven change – measuring and quantifying organisational behaviour at the individual, group and organisational levels. Survey feedback, an integral part of the OD process, provides leaders and managers with research-based information on what is happening within the organisation – be it cultural norms, organisational systems, organisational climate, leadership and managerial process and their consequent impact, or the behaviours of key people throughout the organisation. Such measurements must be based on solid, academically respected research to help guide the process of change.

Helpful feedback tools not only measure the current state, but also identify what needs to be focused on to improve effectiveness – in terms of building on strengths and overcoming stumbling blocks. When people receive feedback based on a reliable and valid tool, that highlights what is helping and hindering effectiveness at the individual, group and/or organisational levels, then they can build strategies for improvement.

The process is quite simple. It’s built on a test-action-retest approach. Whether at the individual, group or organisational level, the process remains the same – measure what is currently happening, develop strategies for change, implement these and then retest to evaluate the effectiveness of the change strategies.

Test Action ReTest

Within this process, there are a set of ‘key steps’ or ‘phases’ that are essential to effective feedback and change:

 Aware Accept Action

Action, based on feedback, cannot be effective unless awareness and acceptance are first achieved. Acceptance cannot occur until awareness is achieved, so it is essential that the feedback process follows these steps in a facilitative, disciplined manner.

Individuals, Managers and Leaders

For Individuals, Managers and Leaders this involves selecting the most appropriate measurement tool and then working with this ‘focal individual’ to determine who s/he will obtain feedback from. The measurement (test phase) is then undertaken, followed by feedback from one of our consultants or a trained and accredited practitioner/coach. The coach then facilitates the focal individual through the awareness, acceptance and action process to identify practical strategies and actions that will help this individual improve his or her personal effectiveness. The focal individual then puts these actions into place (action phase) be it changes in personal thinking styles, behavioural styles, management approaches or leadership strategies. After a period of time, the measurement tool is re-administered (retest phase) to check progress and the coach again works with the focal individual to help identify improvements, additional change strategies and further developmental actions.

These steps can then be recycled time and time again, as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Developing Individuals

See Developing Managers

See Developing Leaders


For Groups this involves members working with one of our consultants or an accredited practitioner/facilitator to identify group issues – be they task related or interpersonal, or more commonly both. The measurement (test phase) involves group members completing a diagnostic tool that measures how the group works together, highlighting group ‘styles’, or perhaps completing a problem solving simulation that requires group members to apply effective task and interpersonal skills to solve a problem. The facilitator then helps group members understand what the feedback or simulation experience is saying about how the group functions. S/he will then facilitate group members through the awareness, acceptance, and action process to identify what’s working and what is not within the group. The facilitator then helps group members identify strategies and actions (action phase) for improving group performance. If a simulation is being used, then a second one can be used straight away to reinforce the new learnings. If a behavioural feedback tool is used, then this can be re-administered after a period of time to assess progress (retest phase).

These steps can be recycled time and time again, as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Developing Teams


At the Organisational level, this involves working with one of our consultants or an accredited practitioner/consultant to set up a project plan for an organisational wide survey. This project plan will include the survey methodology, the specific survey tools to be used, the administration and data collection process (test phase), the feedback process and the strategy/action development process (action phase) and the re-measure process and timing (retest phase). It is important from the outset to understand that in Organisational Development, a survey is an action-research approach. Simply doing a survey and then only communicating the results to senior management, who will then determine what needs to be done, simply reinforces the distance of management from organisational members. Action-research surveys use the data to involve people throughout the organisation to identify what the data is saying (test phase) and then build practical actions through the awareness, acceptance and action process that they can implement to make change happen and what they want to recommend to senior management in the way of broader group, unit or organisational level change strategies/actions (action phase). The survey is then re-administered after a period of time to assess progress and the success of the implemented change strategies (retest phase).

These steps can be recycled time and time again, as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Transforming Organisations



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