Chartered Companion CIPD
Head of Professional Development for OD & Leading Do OD, NHS England
1: What does your OD role involve?
My role is a national role across NHS England to support the professional development for all those working in OD across the NHS. Two priority areas at the moment. The first one is inputting & supporting the development of OD standards, career pathways and development for NHS People Professionals within the recently launched NHS Profession Map. This is a very exciting piece of work recognising and developing standards and pathways for OD skills and competencies both for OD specialists and across the wider NHS People Professional community. Instrumental in the development of the OD as part of the NHS Profession map has been input from our NHS OD community and through the national OD network – Do OD.
I have had the privilege and joy of leading Do OD in partnership with NHS Employers for the last 10 years. Do OD is a national expert OD resource and a collaborative community of passionate OD professionals. Do OD continues to flourish and influence the future for OD in the NHS.
2: How did you get into OD?
Many years ago I fell into doing a Behavioural Science degree which I loved. It started my journey into a curiosity of human dynamics, and particularly within organisations and systems. I did many different things after this in my 20’s – travelling and voluntary work and then through teaching English as a second language into development and training. After working as a regional training lead in the voluntary sector I joined the NHS and it was here that I found my home again in OD. I had different roles in OD, Leadership, Development mainly in primary care and acute NHS settings gathering experience as I went. I was so curious as how culture, leadership, systems and the interplay between them and our human behaviour and dynamics was so key in successful flourishing organisations. And it was meeting the extraordinary Mee Yan Cheung Judge, my mentor and friend who encouraged a deeper dive into OD practice and NTL development. Becoming a national lead for OD across NHS England seemed like a huge step like jumping off a mountain with a parachute but my passion and belief in OD and our NHS OD community has only grown and grown. And it felt like coming home to do a specialist OD development role
3: What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being part of the NHS OD community and working with our fabulous OD practitioners in many different development and spaces for connection and learning. There are many different ways to ‘do’ OD and it’s great to be able to offer spaces where OD folk can connect, share their challenges, learning and collaboratively offer OD resources and new ways of thinking. Hearing and knowing the impact of good OD and the difference it can make to patient care. Especially at such challenging times for the NHS. I sit on the Board of ODN Europe, and I really enjoy hearing and finding out more about OD theory and practice outside the NHS and how we can advance the field of OD. Coaching and mentoring OD professionals and leaders offers as much learning and growth for me and an intervention I know is helpful for many people. It’s an exciting time for OD in the NHS and it’s great to be a part of this particularly looking at how we can offer more development and resource for OD and support and enable our fantastic OD and People Professionals.
4: What advice would you give someone looking into OD&D?
Go for it! Talk to as many people as you can working in OD in all different sectors. Our People Professionals always want to support others. OD professionals often come from all different areas, experience and background into the field of OD – it brings richness, diversity and a growth and learning mindset. I always also recommend some good resources, connecting with wider networks, and seeing if you can shadow or work alongside someone for a day. Having a coach or mentor can also be really helpful. There are a lot of OD development offers and I would find the one right for you – ask OD professionals what they would recommend. NHS has OD Essentials for NHS staff and NHS Elements for non-NHS staff, and of course a range of CIPD offers.
Reading and hearing about OD theory and practice is always good but it is only when people do OD that I hear – ‘I get it now’. It becomes part of your DNA and way of working whichever roles and career you find yourself in. And do get in touch always keen to connect and support where I can!
Some Useful Resources
Building a career pathway in OD – CIPD resource Karen Dumain and Paul Taylor Pitt https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/strategy/organisational-development/thought-pieces/professional-development#gref
ODN Europe website – https://odneurope.org
OD video series and OD competencies app https://www.quality-equality.com/justincase
The OD App: www.theodapp.com/
Read more about Getting into OD here