3 Credits

Organizational Foundations

Diagnosing challenges in your organization and designing and implementing robust, workable solutions
A graphic illustrating organizational development.

Upcoming Sessions


Program Overview

Diagnosing challenges in your organization and designing and implementing robust, workable solutions

In Organization Development (OD) Foundations we explore the vital role for organization development in today’s competitive, fast moving, and ever-changing world.

OD is the art and science of developing organizations towards greater health and effectiveness. A focus on the “O” causes us to take a whole-systems perspective to optimizing our organizations, and a focus on the “D” means that we develop robust and workable strategies through learning and growth. It follows, that to practice OD, we must be equipped with frameworks, approaches and tools for partnering with our clients to diagnose and design innovative solutions and for building the necessary relationships to implement them.

Program Details

Organization Development Foundations is designed to enable you to fulfill the OD facilitator role, partnering with leaders, and guiding meaningful change. Building from contemporary theory and practice, you will be equipped with knowledge, skills and resources that you can immediately apply to your back-home challenges.

a) Setting the Stage

What is OD and what’s your role as a practitioner of organization development?

OD is more than tools and techniques. OD’s core principles and processes engage people in useful and significant ways to address a wide range of challenges.

In setting the stage we:

  • Introduce our framework for effective OD, to help you artfully apply those principles and processes to your organizational challenges.
  • Explore how ever-evolving technical, social, and competitive trends are generating a rethink of the contemporary organization to reveal how work, workers and workplaces must be more innovative, connected and adaptive.
  • Link the rich history of OD’s theoretical roots to evolving methods fit for today’s complex challenges.

Through our exploration you will develop a deep appreciation of the principles underpinning the many and varied OD practices including:

  • Whole-systems diagnosis – understanding the challenges and opportunities in light of real business needs.
  • Stakeholder engagement – the why, who, when and how of meaningful participation.
  • Action learning – how learning together generates both better solutions and committed action taking.
b) Defining the Well-Designed Workplace

We define the well-designed workplace as a system that is purposeful, aligned, and adaptable. Our Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness provides a framework for linking essential social and technical elements—including mandate, capabilities, relationships, structures, leadership and people—for optimal health and performance.

Using the Blueprint, we take a deep dive into how organizational capabilities are evolving through the example of an exemplar organization.

Next, we use the Blueprint and Gap Analyzer tools to explore strengths and opportunities in your organization.

c) Exploring the Action Research Model with the 4Ds

In our role as process consultants we bring an open mind, practical spirit, and courageous optimism to organizational challenges. Rather than starting with answers, we offer a process that causes organizational leaders to step back and think deeply about their aims, options, and preferred solutions.

Our 4-D consulting process provides a container for leading purposeful, systems-oriented, and learning- driven change. As you guide clients through the stages you will: 1) define your challenges using whole- systems diagnostics, 2) engage system stakeholders in a discovery of issues, aims and aspirations, 3) design and test workable innovations, and 4) organize for the essential task of doing, or implementing to move forward with confidence.

We will take a deep dive into each step of the 4Ds as follows:

Define: Use diagnostics, including the Blueprint, to understand the challenge from a whole-systems perspective.

Discover: Explore a range of data collection methods and reflect on how different methods serve different purposes.

Design: Understand the essential elements of a well-designed solution and show how prototyping generates understanding and commitment.

Do: Review essential implementation planning must dos for a success launch and continued testing and learning.

d) Exploring the Client-Consultant Relationship

Having explored the framework and processes for effective OD, we turn our attention to you, and your role in building a trusting and productive relationship with your clients and constituents. In addition to exploring the strengths and impact of your leadership style, we circle back on the 4-D process to identify critical leadership and communication skills at each stage including:

  • Define: the ability to shape a compelling business case for the effort, moving from the why, to the what, to the how.
  • Discovery and Design: the ability to tell the story of your data analysis and to model the core elements of solutions.
  • Do: the ability to energize and inspire courageous and lasting implementation efforts.
e) Application Planning

Throughout the program you will work with a case partner to reflect on how the learnings apply to a work-related challenge. As a final step, you will harness those insights into a plan for moving forward.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Objectives
  • Use systems tools, like the IRC’s Blueprint for OE, to assess organizational health and effectiveness
  • Diagnose organizational challenges using whole-systems thinking and approaches
  • Engage stakeholders in the 4-D action consulting process to tap collective knowledge and design workable solutions
  • Practice using the OD principles of systems thinking, action learning, and stakeholder engagement to generate a holistic diagnosis, collective and creative thinking, and committed action takers
  • Apply OD theories and practices to an organizational challenge, and create an action plan for moving forward
Organizational Benefits
  • Skilled internal OD consultants to lead systems level change
  • Frameworks and expertise for developing competencies for agility, innovation, and continuous change
  • Shared ownership of complex challenges and solutions


Who Should Attend

Human Resources and Organizational Development Practitioners

Learn a leading change methodology for understanding and achieving organization development.

Team Leaders

Hone your craft, experiment with emerging trends and reflect on the larger issues of your organization’s evolution.

External and Internal Consultants

Learn how to lead systems level change effectively.

Planners and Implementers of Change

Gain the frameworks and expertise for development competencies for agility, innovation and change.

Facilitators and Speakers

Takeaway Tools

  • Participant Case Study Workbook
  • Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness
  • Organizational Effectiveness Gap Analysis


Thought Leadership

Stay ahead of trends in your career with articles and papers written by industry experts.

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