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Competencies of an Effective OD Consultant

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 711
  • Category: Skills

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I start by giving a brief definition of competencies. For those of us who would have done HRM we learned that competencies are the behavioural characteristics (skills and abilities) of an individual which is causally related to effective or superior performance in a job.

Every OD Practitioner should have some foundational skills and abilities. If the person claiming to be an OD practitioner is not strong on these, he or she might be a business consultant, or a coach, or a team building specialist – and all of those are important and valuable roles – but they should not be confused with OD practitioners. I am not trying to make the OD practitioner better than any of these – just different. You need to apply the right person to the right job. John Battle from Dow chemicals always said there is no such thing as a bad employee, just a bad fit between an employee and a job. Well, similarly, there is no such thing as a bad consultant, just a bad fit between the consultant and the consulting need.

Intrapersonal Skills- The ability to manage self

The OD consultant works with information that is often fast changing, complex and ambiguous. He has to continually make decisions regarding the relevance of large amounts of data to the organisational situation and / or problem. To do this, he has to know his own values and biases, and know how to put these aside and adopt the organisation’s values and biases when working with this data. The process of working with data, interpreting and making decisions, as well as adopting organisational values and norms in this process, requires fast continuous learning, continuous adjustment and a high sense of innovation. A balance between emotions and rationale helps the practitioner to notice issues that are not always obvious.

Interpersonal Skills- Ability to manage Interpersonal Relationships

The OD consultant needs to be able to enter into an organisation, and begin to create relationships that will enable him to grasp the perspectives of organisational members, understand the organisation and see how organisation members see themselves and the organisation. It is not only important to form these relationships, but the relationships formed needs to be maintained, while in the process of working with sensitive data and situations. To do this, he needs to be able to establish trust and rapport with the key clients as well as the rest of the organisation. He needs to be able to facilitate sessions of working with data together the organisation members, doing joint diagnosis, joint planning, and effectively working together throughout the whole process until the change has been institutionalised Underpinning all of these is integrity. All of these should be built on values and behaviour that establishes and strengthens his credibility in the eyes of the organisation.

General Consultation Skills-(General Model Process) The OD practitioner should have a thorough knowledge of the diagnostic models that are available, their strengths and their weaknesses, and to which situations they should be applied. He should know how to guide the process of taking the information from a diagnostic process, interpreting that and forming valid and reliable conclusions, in order to select appropriate interventions, and modify those interventions for the specific situation. He needs to know how to evaluate both the success of the implementation and the effect of the implementation on the required outcomes, and be able to lead the process of making adjustments to the change process based on the feedback findings. Finally he needs to know and understand the principles of institutionalising and needs to be able to know and identify when a change process is complete and institutionalised.

Organization Development Theory- The last basic tool OD practitioners should have is a general knowledge of OD, eg, history and development. They should have an appreciation for planned change, the actions research model, and the positive approaches to managing change. They should also be familiar with the range of available interventions and the need for evaluating change programs.

Perhaps most important is that OD practitioners should understand their own role in the emerging field of OD, whether it is as an OD professional, a manager, or a specialist in a related field.

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