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1: What does your OD role involve? 

I’m currently working as an internal OD consultant at the House of Commons. My work supports the various teams and professions who deliver the House of Commons service.  It’s really diverse – of course, there are the people who ensure the Chamber and Committees are run. In addition, we have curators, caterers, security, researchers, building and maintenance staff to name just a few.  My role involves providing OD&D consultancy support on change and development projects, some in local teams and some whole organisation. I’m also delivering a programme and ongoing support to develop OD skills and mindset for change leaders in various parts of the organisation, which I’m finding very rewarding

2: How did you get into OD?

I started out in HR, working my way up from a recruitment administrator to a generalist HR manager.  In my first HR manager role I worked in a small NHS organisation, on an island, at a time of change.  The links between the big strategic picture, both internal and external, with what was happening on the front line day to day, and how that was also impacted by personalities, relationships and the unintended consequences of decisions was a lot clearer to see than perhaps it would be elsewhere.  I took this learning with me when I moved to another HR role in a larger, changing, organisation..  At the time, OD wasn’t so established as it is now, and I discovered OD when an supportive HR Director told me it was what I was doing!  I was so lucky to go to a conference around that time and attend a couple of sessions led by the late Mee Yan Cheung Judge – she seemed to talk so much sense to me and a lot of what have bothered me about the way we approach change in organisations clicked.  I studied an MSc in HRD and Organisational Change – there was a lot of self directed learning in it, so I was able to focus it around OD.  That was more than a decade ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve felt I can confidently call myself an OD practitioner.

3: What do you enjoy most about your role? 

My core motivation is releasing potential in others.  I love having the opportunity to create conditions where people can grow, work with provocative questions, face into challenges, and truly participate in creating the future.  I also love collaborating, working as part of a group from different backgrounds and bringing things together – learning from each other along the way.  There is such a breadth to the field of OD – there’s so much space for my own development and growth in that.  Because it’s such a rich and diverse field, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside practitioners with different approaches over the years, and have learned a lot from them while being able to try out different approaches and work out what feels right for me.  I’m more motivated and interested in Organisation Development than Design, but I still find that people more readily understand the idea of Design, and that this can be a gateway to doing good Org Development work. 

4: What advice would you give someone looking into OD&D? 

If you’re looking to get into OD&D, here’s a few things I’d suggest:

■ Buddy up with people who are doing it – OD practitioners usually want to spread the word and help people learn -ask for chat!  

 ■ Be open to your personal development and developing your mindset as well as developing a professional skill set

 ■ There are so many free OD-related podcasts and webinars out there, sign up to a few mailing lists – again, I think it’s a generous network

 ■ If you’re in an organisation, get to understand the big picture – make friends with the strategists – and see if you can contribute to change programmes, whatever profession you are in, you can develop and apply an OD mindset from where you are

 ■ Be curious and open – OD is everywhere  – don’t close off opportunities just because they are not labelled as OD

Read more about Getting into OD here