Growing Adaptive Organizations

Working with the Canvas

Usage options of OD

OD stands normally for Organization Design.

The acronym OD can however be interpreted freely in several ways. Each of these interpretations represents an option for shaping interventions into an organization.

1. OD: Diagnosing the Organization

 This is the process of carefully examining an organization to identify challenges and problem areas. It’s akin to a doctor making a diagnosis before prescribing a treatment. In organizations, this often involves analyzing workflows, corporate culture, and employee engagement to pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

This would mean using the Observe part: analyzing the organization and going through steps 1 to 7. It makes probably sense to use parts of step 8 for making sense of the learnings and gaining a consistent view.

2. OD: Debugging the Organization

This involves locating and fixing specific faults or issues within organizational structures and processes. Borrowed from the world of computing, where it refers to identifying and correcting errors in code, in an organizational context it means detecting and rectifying inefficiencies or dysfunctions to enable smoother operations.

This would mean using the Observe and the Orient part of the Canvas: while Observe implies a somewhat detached view of the organization, in Orient, you switch to a more opinionated view, where you think in terms of improvements and deficiencies.

3. OD: Designing the Organization

 In terms of organizational development, design refers to the deliberate shaping of organizational structures, processes, and systems. It’s about creating the organization in a way that allows it to effectively achieve its goals, not just solving problems but architecting an entity that is poised for the future. This mode involves creative thinking and the application of design principles to make an organization future-proof.

The Decide part of OODA is represented in the design steps 9-14 which represent design decisions.

While classic OD leans typically toward a slow process with long cycles (in agile terms: Waterfall process), this might become problematic in a fast-moving environment. We take this fact into account by contrasting the linear transformation model with an iterative, evolutionary approach.

4. OD: Developing the Organization

Development focuses on the growth and continuous improvement of the organization. This includes promoting learning processes, adapting to changing circumstances, and investing in employee skill sets. Develop is a forward-looking approach that aims to advance the organization through training, innovation, and strategic planning.

In the Act chapter, we give a short outline of three different approaches to Change.

Journeys through the Playbook

There are several possible ways in which you can traverse the playbook. They correspond to your current intentions and how deeply you are already involved in the world of the Viable System Model.The chapters in the Playbook are arranged for the typical path. But you might perform only part of the steps or come back multiple times to apply changes iteratively.

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