Leadership and Organizational Development

Organizational development practitioners must be well versed in understanding the systems dynamics of organizations and the complexities of change within an organization, and this is not common knowledge. It is unreasonable to assume that all leaders would be capable of performing the functions of an OD practitioner. A key component of organizational development is an understanding of the complexities and dynamics of systems thinking. Systems thinking explains the interdependencies and complexities of an organization (Gharajedaghi, 2011). A leader may learn to become an OD practitioner, but it does require formal education and training.

Church, Waclawski, and Burke (1996) discussed the degree of knowledge OD practitioners have concerning the management of organizational change. The data indicated that most OD practitioners were transformational leaders when managing change initiatives due to experiential knowledge, professional training, and formal advanced education (Church, Waclawski, & Burke, 1996). The specialized training and education associated with organizational development (i.e., change management) provide the necessary abilities; generic leaders do not necessarily have this knowledge, and often only receive business administration education.

OD practitioners possessing the necessarily advanced education in conducting change initiatives have a significantly better opportunity to manage change than leaders, managers, and executives lacking the OD knowledge (Burke, Church, & Waclawski, 1993). There is a clear indication that specialized training, education, and experiential knowledge are needed to manage change initiatives. Managers are good at managing their organizations, but OD practitioners are better at managing the issues associated with change management.

OD Practitioners and Motivation to Change

Organizational change is a fundamental component of organizational development; effecting change in an organization is complex and challenging. Organizational culture is the foundation of an organization (Frame, 2013), and any change initiative must consider the culture to be successful. Instilling the motivation and commitment to change within an organization involves more than just requiring the employees to follow the lead of the leader. The culture of the organization is both formal and informal, and influences change within an organization. Recognizing and understanding the culture is a critical issue in establishing motivation and commitment within the employee population.

Senge (2006) presents an excellent method to instill motivation and commitment to change through the development of a shared vision. Having the employees buy into a change is not a new idea; developing a shared vision is much more than acceptance of a change. A shared vision is the transition of a personal vision to a shared vision among the organizational members (Senge, 2006). Attempting to implement a change initiative through the sole involvement of leadership is both challenging and likely to fail because the employees do not have a vested interest in the change. Involving the employees at the earliest stage of a project is an excellent way to develop motivation and commitment. Involving the employees early in the change process is a powerful message to the employees that their involvement is critical to the organization.

The establishment of a shared vision is a process of bringing different personal approaches together through active participant involvement and the blending of many visions into a single shared vision (Senge, 2006). Organizational learning is an integral part of instilling the concept of acceptable change involvement in an organization (Coughlan, & Rashford, 2006). Involving the employees as partners in establishing and maintaining the welfare of the organization is an excellent method of establishing high motivation and commitment to change.

Myer–Briggs Type Indicator Assessments

The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) grew out of Jung's work on personality. The personality indicator assessment that is used today is useful in understanding a person's type of personality. While the purpose of this book is other than detailing the MBTI, there is value in providing general information to allow the reader to explore the MBTI in more detail. Excellent information about the MBTI is available at the Foundation web page (myersbriggs.org). There are other web pages with useful information about personality types such as (16personalities.com/), which allows users to participate in a free personality assessment. The personality-type assessment might help you understand more about yourself and others. Consider the possibilities of understanding why people do certain things and how to approach them for better results in professional situations.

Author’s Note: I took the assessment several times, and I am an ISTJ (i.e., Introverted, Observant, Thinking, and Judging). The ISTJ determination is very accurate, which is why I have a burning desire to bring order to chaos. While I fit into the ISTJ type nicely, I even carried the nickname of Mr. Spock at one time. However, I also show tendencies that are outside of the ISTJ personality type. I am flexible when interacting with other people to accomplish goals and brainstorming. I love to discuss the possibility of “what if” - I suppose that explains my love of change management. My interest in change management is involved. I am traditional in many ways, but I love to develop and implement change when there is a need. Once I see the benefits of a change initiative, I am committed to the change. If I do not see the value or dislike the logical underpinnings, I will attempt to negotiate a change to improve the concept. I view the personality types as guides to help you understand why you are the way you are, but remember, it is a guide and not an absolute stamp. We are complex beings - we are humans.

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