5 steps for organisational development success

In a previous post, I presented the case for organisational development (OD) being part of every leader’s role. As OD activities are designed to enable organisational success, leaders need to have a finely tuned radar to signal whether they are working or not.

This is where a scorecard for success comes in handy. However, a scorecard is only useful if we are prepared to celebrate it, learn from it or use it to inform our next steps. For leaders, this means finding those sources of truth that indicate your strategies are generating great business results, in a sustainable way for the future. This is easier than it sounds, but here are five places to start:

1. Performance

The most logical place to start when measuring success or failure is whether your team is performing. Is your team accomplishing its goals? If not, why not? Are they focused on the right priorities? Do they have the right capability?

Whilst performance metrics are important, alone they're insufficient in forming a complete view. If your team is not set up for success in the future, your joy may be temporary and your successes short-lived.

2. Retention

Now add retention to the performance picture. Are you retaining the talent you hire? What can you learn from the people who choose to leave? What might you do differently to avoid repeating this pattern? As leaders, retaining the talent you attract will be a critical factor in ensuring your team can deliver on future priorities.

3. Absenteeism

Do you have high rates of sick leave from the office? What does this say about how engaged people are in their work, their colleagues and their boss? As leaders, you need your employees to be healthy and productive at work, and any signals that indicate otherwise might restrict your ability to deliver.

4. Engagement

Engagement surveys (or employee opinion surveys) are generally regarded as an objective source of data and are often the only forum for employees to express their opinions anonymously. How do you contribute to your team’s engagement? Do they feel you're delivering on the promises you have made? As leaders, understanding what drives your team’s engagement or otherwise should help inform your actions in the future.

5. Observations

In addition to these success measures, smart leaders should also trust their instincts and use their own observations about how their team is operating to signal whether a change in direction is needed. These observations might include:

  • Creativity – at its most engaged, a team will generate enthusiasm for new ideas, innovate willingly and be continuously searching for better ways of doing things. If your team feels creativity is tiresome, pointless or unrewarding, these may be signs of disengagement. A team feeling this way will default to doing what they have always done and may miss opportunities critical to achieving great results.

  • Transparency – at its most engaged, a team will actively participate in discussions, provide unsolicited feedback and share opinions. If you're observing your team withholding public opinions, gossiping or waiting until the next anonymous engagement survey to share their view, these may be signs of disengagement. A lack of interest in contributing opinions may impact on your team’s ability to deliver.

  • Drive – at its most engaged, a team will make things happen. Ideas will turn into solutions and solutions into wins. If you're observing your team losing focus on delivery, letting obstacles impede them or just plain giving up, these may be signs of disengagement. An inability to drive outcomes is a sign that a new strategy is needed quickly.

The list for potential success measures is endless, but as a leader only you know what it looks like when your team is engaged and what it looks like when it is not.

The safest scorecard for success is one that reflects your own team, includes some reliable measures you can track over time and, most importantly, is constantly tweaked to reveal what it looks like when you’re winning.

While SEEK partners with trusted contributors to bring you the latest insight and advice, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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Lorena Healey

Lorena Healey Consulting


Lorena Healey is an independent business consultant, specialising in culture alignment, employee engagement and leadership development. Prior to starting her own business, Lorena worked at SEEK from 2006 to 2014 in areas of organisational design,...

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