Organization Development Approach

Organization Development (OD) is about improving performance at the individual, group, and organization levels. It is about improving the organization's ability to effectively respond to changes in its external environment, and it’s about increasing internal capabilities by ensuring the organizational structures, human resources systems, job designs, communication systems, and leadership/managerial processes fully harness human motivation and help people function to their full potential.

Done well, such improvement can be transformational—producing fundamental changes in the way individuals, groups, and organizations function.

Human Synergistics International is a world leader in the field of data-driven change—measuring and quantifying organizational behaviour at the individual, group, and organization levels. Survey feedback, an integral part of the OD process, provides leaders and managers with research-based information on what is happening within the organization—be it cultural norms, organizational systems, organizational climate, leadership and managerial approaches and their consequent impact, or the behaviours of key people throughout the organization. Such measurements must be based on solid, academically-respected research to help guide the process of change.

Helpful feedback tools not only measure the current state, but also identify what needs to be focused on to improve effectiveness in terms of building on strengths and overcoming stumbling blocks. When people receive feedback based on a reliable and valid assessment that highlights what is helping and hindering effectiveness at the individual, group, and/or organization levels, then they can build strategies for improvement.

The process is quite simple. It’s built on a test-action-re-test approach. Whether at the individual, group, or organizational level, the process remains the same—measure what is currently happening, develop strategies for change, implement these, and then re-test to evaluate the effectiveness of the change strategies.

Test Action ReTest

Within this process, there is a set of key steps or phases that are essential to effective feedback and change:

 Aware Accept Action

Action, based on feedback, cannot be effective unless awareness and acceptance are first achieved. Acceptance cannot occur until awareness is achieved, so it is essential that the feedback process follows these steps in a facilitative, disciplined manner.

Individuals, Managers, and Leaders

For individuals, managers, and leaders, the OD approach first involves selecting the most appropriate HS assessment and coach. The measurement (test phase) is then undertaken, followed by one-on-one feedback from an HS-trained coach, including but not limited to a Human Synergistics Global Change Circle (HSGCC) coach. The coach then facilitates the focal individual through the awareness, acceptance, and action process to identify practical strategies and actions that will help this individual improve his or her personal effectiveness. The focal individual then puts these actions into place (action phase), which may entail changes in personal thinking styles, behavioural styles, management approaches, and/or leadership strategies. After a period of time, the assessment is re-administered (re-test phase) to check progress, and the coach works with the focal individual to help identify improvements, additional change strategies, and further developmental actions.

These steps can then be recycled time and time again as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Individual Development

See Management Development

See Leadership Development


For groups, the OD approach involves members working with an HS-trained practitioner, including but not limited to an HSGCC practitioner, to identify group issues including task-related, interpersonal, or more commonly, both. The measurement (test phase) involves group members completing an assessment that measures how the group works together, highlighting group styles, or perhaps completing a problem-solving simulation requiring group members to apply task and interpersonal skills. The facilitator then helps group members understand what the feedback or simulation experience illuminates about how the group functions. S/he will then facilitate group members through the awareness, acceptance, and action process to identify what’s working and what is not within the group. Next, the facilitator identifies strategies and actions (action phase) for improving group performance. Sometimes two simulations are used back-to-back to reinforce the learning from the first activity. If a behavioural assessment is used, then this can be re-administered after a period of time to assess progress (re-test phase).

These steps can be recycled time and time again as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Team Development


At the organization level, the OD approach involves working with one of our HSGCC practitioners or in-house OD experts to set up a project plan for an organization-wide survey. This project plan will include survey selection, methodology (including administration and data collection process) (test phase), feedback, strategy/action development process (action phase), and post-test timing (re-test phase). It is important from the outset to understand that in Organization Development, a survey is an action-research approach. Simply doing a survey and then only communicating the results to senior management, who will then determine what needs to be done, simply reinforces the distance of management from organizational members. Action-research surveys use the data to involve people throughout the organization to identify what the data are saying (test phase) and then build practical actions through the awareness, acceptance, and action process. Those involved determine what they can implement at the department level and what they want to recommend to senior management in the way of broader unit- or organization-level change strategies/actions (action phase). The survey is then re-administered after a period of time to assess progress and the success of the implemented change strategies (re-test phase).

These steps can be recycled time and time again as part of a systematic developmental process.

See Organization Development