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Feb 13, 2014 | Insights

How Organizational Development Benefits Nonprofits

What exactly is organizational development consulting? It’s easier to describe OD in action than provide a concise definition. OD consultant help identify and address the root causes of problems and assist an organization’s leaders, staff, board members, and others in building skills and expertise. Here are a few of the things OD consultants helped clients with:

  • Focusing strategic direction, rather than trying to be all things to all people.
  • Assessing organizational strengths, weaknesses and opportunities.
  • Building unity and open communication among leadership team members.
  • Promoting a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Resolving conflicts and identifying systemic factors that allow conflicts to keep occurring.

Helping You Build a Strong Foundation

Our efforts help clients focus on how they get their work done. Most people in nonprofit organizations are concerned with serving the mission and bettering the world, not necessarily with the nuts-and-bolts of running an organization. Yet we need well-run organizations to keep our good work going long-term.

So far from being that “touchy-feely” stuff that’s separate from the real work, organizational development consulting helps improve the foundation for long-term success. It’s amazing how much talent and energy are wasted when the strategic direction is unfocused, people don’t communicate with each other, leaders feel isolated and overwhelmed, and people are immersed in unproductive conflict.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a good example of how OD consulting can help energy and creativity blossom. With a clear strategic direction, people can focus their efforts and concentrate on the organization’s top priorities. What helps distinguish the OD approach to planning is that stakeholders are actively engaged throughout the process, building understanding, consensus and buy-in.  

This contrasts with the approach of some consultants who go off and do their thing, submitting a report and an invoice at the end. When you hear of instances like that, you have to wonder whose plan it is ultimately — the nonprofit’s or the consultant’s?