SHRM 2014 was a wonderful experience for me. I have never been to a conference this size or an event that was so well-organized to the tee. It was truly above average: from the mobile app which helped me seamlessly navigate the event and take notes to the SHRMBOT who answered questions; from the amazing and well-learned speakers who truly engaged the audience to the diverse and happily charged audience; and from the ubiquitous volunteers in green shirts to the well-thought out game plan every step of the way–they had thought of everything! Above average for sure.
The reason I talk about end of average or above average in this article is because this was a topic under discussion during the conference. During one of the General Sessions, Mr. Thomas Friedman, a NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winning author, spoke eloquently about the demands of the new workplace and how we will all need to step up our game NOW. As I listened, I thought of the following: what about the people who have not prepared for above average, how does one even go about becoming above average, and how much time do we really have to make this transition? Tough questions, no easy answers. Then I thought of myself as an OD Professional trying to bring about effective change in organizations—how do I become above average in a rapidly changing world—in a world where Facebook was born just seven years ago?
I think there are three ways OD professionals like myself can accomplish this: We will need to continuously practice OD skills, develop the ability to learn and retool ourselves by actively soliciting feedback, and work smarter by using the right tools for our work.
Practice makes perfect and OD professionals must try to find ways they can practice their craft regularly. This means that even when there is no project, OD professionals should use OD tools and techniques in other life situations. As an example, OD professionals can work in their communities and volunteer for an OD project . If we are interested in current affairs, we can think of way we can solve a world problem through OD. The application of OD is everywhere. We just need to look for it. To stay current in the field, books, certifications, peer discussions, journals etc. are very helpful.
Second, getting feedback from peers and clients is an extremely powerful way of learning about one’s weaknesses. I also suggest attending networking events organized by local OD chapters to meet experts in the field and learn from them. The ideas gained from these sessions often help generate solution to the problems at hand. Networking sessions can be whatever you want them to be. You can either just go to these events and listen to the discussion or come back rejuvenated and start creating something new from that experience—the choice is yours.
Last but not the least, are the tools you will use. An OD practictioner must experiment and work with the ones that deliver the best results. At one of our local events, a participant was amazed with the power of the fishbowl technique. After the session, the interviewee who had many years of experience in OD stated that this technique was one of the most useful reflection tools he had ever experienced. In this technique the interviewee sits in the middle of the group with the consultant asking questions and sitting face-to-face with the interviewee. The other stakeholders look on. During the Q & A session, the interviewee deeply reflects about his/her challenges and comes up with solutions to handle them. There is greater ownership in this process. A simple interview in this situation may not have yielded the same results. Therefore, OD practitioners need to know how to use the right tools in the right situation to get the best impact.
I had many interesting insights from the SHRM 2014 conference and thought of the different ways OD professionals can apply the information shared in the conference to their work. I hope to share my observations with you in the coming months. In the meanwhile, I would like to engage with all OD professionals on the topic of how we can improve ourselves and make ourselves better in this field. I look forward to hearing from you. Together we can embrace the coming challenges that the world faces as one. Do share your thoughts and connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article first published on June 30, 2014 at:http://instituteod.com/news.php?id=116&cat_id=&p=&search=#ontitle