Leg Two - Learning to Be Better Partners

    Humankind achieves the majority of its purposes as an outcome of partnerships between individuals committed to a shared purpose. Humankind needs to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its partnerships and thus the prosperity of our society. Early steam locomotives had an overall efficiency of about 5%. Steam locomotives were replaced by diesel electric locomotives with an efficiency of around 30%. Similarly, organizations need to understand how to increase the efficiency of partnerships in achieving improved performance and do so in a manner that helps ensure a positive future for humankind and the planet. The professional field of Organizational Development (OD) is increasingly recognizing the role of OD in helping address the challenges our society faces. An underlying theme of the 2023 international OD Summit to be held in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 11-14 is “Building a better world is the present and future of OD.”

    Many surveys have indicated that employee enjoyment in their work and engagement is deteriorating. Just as an individual needs to have purpose and joy so do organizations. Leg Two of the stool involves improving the efficiency of organizations not by preaching from politicians, religious leaders or even top management but rather by enabling individuals to improve their partnership, respect and love for each other as they act together to achieve their purpose. My research has clearly shown that to improve the efficiency of an organization, the improvement effort needs not only to be focused on the desired outcome but also on the ability for participants to improve their partnership and become a more effective brick within the partnership. A major challenge is a recognition by organizational leaders that empowering frontline workers to improve their partnerships with support from the organization is a means of enhancing organizational prosperity and its capability to address challenges faced by the society they serve.

    Organizations depend on having a healthy society to whom they can provide their products and services. Traditionally, society has been dependent on charitable organizations to help address society’s challenges. Resources for charitable organizations have not grown as the challenges have grown and there needs to be a shift in which commercial organizations increase their charitable role in helping address the challenges that customers face.

Summary and Comment

    The pathway to improving the ability of an organization to achieve its purposes and for commercial organizations to achieve prosperity is to improve the partnerships between individuals performing the organization’s daily work. For improvement to be fully successful it needs to both focus on the outer purpose and embrace the opportunity of participants to learn and grow as individuals in ways that help them be more effective contributors to achieving their shared purpose. Organizations depend upon a healthy society and need to see that they have a dual role of serving customers and contributing to addressing the challenges facing society and by doing so contribute to human evolution.

    The purpose of the Organizational Development (OD) profession is to both help organizational prosperity and to do so in a way that contributes to the well-being of its members and society. This can be realized by facilitating both the efficient and effective achievement of the goals of the partnership and the ability of organizational members to learn to be better partners.

Leg One - Accessing Inner Wisdom

Leg Three - Defining Humankind’s Evolutionary Vision

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