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Revitalise – putting the zest into OD

Progressive organisations are routinely looking for a significant edge over the competition that can enable increased market share, fertile revenue streams and sustainable growth. Such objectives highlight the need for astute OD practitioners who can rise above the ‘corporate noise.

Often, the efforts of OD practitioners are conveniently diluted by shortsighted corporate imperatives and ‘scapegoats’ are aggressively sought to ‘dump’ the blame for impending failures, whilst promising careers dwindle in the harshness of organisational politics. Fortunately, such misfortunes can be avoided and the following approach safeguards against Machiavellian measures to preserve susceptible reputations. This article introduces the ‘REVITALISE’ framework as a facilitative tool in providing a solid foundation for conducting effective Organisational Development (OD) interventions. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) stage requires cognisance of the key issues within the organisation that merit an OD intervention. It encompasses unadulterated exploration and sound understanding of the multidimensional aspects of the challenges faced. It demands wholehearted appreciation and precise leveraging of the organisation’s inherent strengths to effectively overcome any actual/potential detrimental aspects associated with the respective situation. It requires honestly reflective leadership, progressive mindset, competent enabler and the sincere willingness to engage in an open and productive dialogue with all the key stakeholders to formulate feasible and robust solutions. It includes having a clear picture of the destination coupled with a convincing strategic narrative and an efficient OD Intervention Plan adorned with relevant tools and techniques to accomplish the desired objective within the stipulated time frame.

Astute Deployment requires due diligence of the OD Intervention Plan in accordance with the strategic imperative before moving forward with the remedial measures. It includes the identification, selection and appointment of key personnel that would be engaged in ensuring timely and efficient application of all intervention steps, tools and techniques. It requires visible and unwavering leadership support from influential quarters. It demands unequivocal communication to proactively address the concerns of impacted parties. It requires timely monitoring of progress, seamless dissemination of updates and sagacious resolution of deviations from the OD Intervention Plan. It requires the effective utilisation of critical incident technique (CIT) and incentivising the keeping of daily diaries for maintaining/securing a healthy knowledge bank for later reference. 

The Action Research stage requires an exhaustive periodic exercise by the project team in gauging the robustness of the implemented solution(s) by simulating/deliberating ‘less than ideal’ conditions that may present themselves once the formal OD intervention process has been completed. This would ensure that any aspect that could jeopardise the whole initiative is timely and suitably mitigated, neutralised or eliminated through appropriate corrective/preventive actions to maximise the efficacy of achieving desired goals. It includes the assessment of past actions, employed processes and subsequent results with the intended outcomes in accordance with the OD Intervention Plan and asking incisive probing questions that will illuminate areas of concern/deficiency and instigate timely solutions, especially, in case of overcoming unforeseen challenges. Presence of an accessible and healthy knowledge bank would be critical to the success of this stage. 

Learn & Improve refers to the After Action Review stage. It requires a painstaking review of the OD intervention activities undertaken to achieve desired goals. It is imbued with a commitment to find the primary drivers of successes or shortcomings and ingrain the lessons learnt in future OD initiatives. It involves all the key stakeholders and is generally facilitated by the person with the primary responsibility for conducting the OD intervention. Honest, unbiased and reflective opinions/viewpoints/perspectives are actively solicited at the respective forum to ensure that a clear picture emerges with respect to what was planned and what was achieved. There is a strong commitment to continuous improvement behind this whole exercise and all participants are expected to take appropriate corrective/preventive actions within their realm of responsibility to ensure a solid foundation for success in future OD endeavors. Relevant records of such a forum are a highly valuable addition to the knowledge bank.

Zest & Embed refers to the Ardent Inculcation stage of the framework. It is a visible and exuberant celebration of success that recognises and, in some cases, rewards the contribution of team members and conveys gratitude to the key stakeholders. It is also a form of motivational communication and positive reinforcement for behavior modification throughout the organisation. It is designed to increase the engagement levels and create a ‘domino effect’ of success. A critical aspect of this stage is the discipline that needs to permeate effectively within the organisational fabric as lessons learnt are ingrained to facilitate future OD initiatives.

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