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Understanding organisation development through personal change

Understanding organisation development through personal change

Business Development

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

23 Mar 2017, 10:09 — 5 min read

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw

As we pass through the various life stages, we as human beings go through multiple changes. Erik Erikson in his psychosocial model has described the various stages and the conflict or change at each stage we all go through. In general we seem to be very accepting of such changes and adapt ourselves to the changed environment, behaviours, beliefs and values. It does not matter to us what is the nature of change and what is the intensity of change. Be it a change of marital status, change of job, change of location.

Mid-life alignment is another important phase in our growth cycle that we all adapt to. At times it is a second innings for the individual and some believe they are reborn. Taking my own life journey as an example, I started my career as a software test engineer in Bangalore, India. I then moved to United States to become a software developer only to come back to India after 8 years to become a people manager. I then forayed into project management, quality, and sales operations before I was hit by the all-important question, “what do I want to do for the rest of my life?”

I developed this new found interest in behavioural science, wanted to understand the various personality styles (and thanks to the various styles that I had to interact with it only reinforced my interest towards the subject. A validation of the fact that Psychology should be a subject that all people managers should be familiar with). I then decided to give work for my right brain and took up Psychology and Counselling. The more I worked with individuals to understand their personality and emotions the more I found the subject interesting. Everyone in my friend and family circle was wondering what I was doing.

“Why are you doing this? What is wrong with you?”

“You are an Engineer. See if you can keep in touch with that aspect”,

“You are probably going through a mid-life crisis. Are you sure this is what you want to do"

“Why, Why, Why”

Well I ask them “Why not? It is just a change”. OK. It was a huge change from understanding code to understanding humans, nevertheless a change, something that all of us in our life time have heard and will continue to hear about how change is very important in life.

Like the stages in human life, organisations also go through various developmental stages. As they grow they go through a personality change, sometimes knowingly and most of the times unknowingly. There are these changes, especially those perceived to be in the interest of self that are readily accepted whereas other changes are seen as destroyer of peace. There comes a point in the organisation’s life span that someone will reflect and say “Who are we, what are we doing and what we want to do?”

Then a series of outbound discussions and meetings happen, usually in a “non-threatening environment” (I wonder why office should be a threatening environment especially when I am working with the same set of people) in an attempt to find themselves. When the group believes they have some light at the end of the tunnel, that there is a need for a change intervention to happen, they come back to the “threatening environment” with some action items. However, once they come back (organisational) life continues as is and the outbound did not really make a difference.

What happened? What is preventing them from following up on the actions they very vociferously decided in the outbound programme? If as individuals we are able to accept and adapt to the changes happening within and around us why is it that as an organisation we sometimes hesitate to address the need for a change. Interestingly, every person within the organisation wants a change for their own benefit and yet collectively there appears to be a failure to tackle organisational change in a proactive way.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

Passionate about Organizational Development and Behaviour backed by a rich mix of Software Projects Development, Quality and Management experience for over 22 years. Focused on...

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