A call to action: Raising our ambition and deepening our practice

OD III - Karen

In our latest Do OD blog, Karen Dumain, national programme lead for OD at the NHS Leadership Academy, discusses how to build capacity and capability for  organisational development (OD) in organisations and systems.

The Developing People Improving Care (2016) framework is a call to leadership teams to prioritise building the capacity and capability for OD in organisations and systems. For OD practitioners here is our call to action.  

How do we enable leaders and leadership teams to build capacity and capability for OD in organisations and systems? OD is on the rise. We have a huge task, the transformation agenda; a call to action for us all to deliver health and social care services we want to see.  OD appears more and more in national strategic documents. Deborah McKenzie, Director of Workforce & OD at Public Health calls OD the ‘glue that stiches the NHS  together’. 

Another document, another call to action.  What would happen if we wore different glasses, turned the world upside down for a while? We talk about the different lenses of OD – what if we not only put different glasses on but changed our orientation? Our ways of seeing the world from a different perspective.

I watched my daughter walking on her hands and together we begin to imagine a world where we all walked upside down. We would be low down, feeling the ground, my floor would be your ceiling that I am gently walking across. We would be getting dirty, the gravel sticking to our hands, and who knew feet could protect you from the rain?  What can we see that we couldn’t see before?

How do we as OD practitioners offer these different perspectives?  How do we build in the patient partnership? How do we increasingly work across systems and in collaboration?  How do we use our individual and collective voice to influence, enable and support transformation? 

In Do OD we have been playing with these different lenses.  We’ve been listening to the lived experiences of OD practitioners, and workforce leads and together we have been exploring what happens when we view the world through a systemic lens.  When we take the helicopter view.  We have been questioning what’s helpful for us in doing  this work.  

By looking at our own capability we can begin to understand others  – the use of self.  So if it begins with me, where do I start, how do I challenge my thinking and be the best I can be?  How do I know that I have the capability and skills to do the work I need to do. Particularly as need to work at a systems level increases.

Do OD are working with the NHS Leadership Academies on two exciting national collaborative projects.  One is the OD virtual mentoring programme. The second collaborative project is Claiming your practice which is being rolled out nationally across all 10 Local Leadership Academies. This is an opportunity for those working in OD particularly at a system level to look at their practice and capability. Applications are now open, see our web page for more information and how to apply

The Do OD capability model illustrates the areas that make a difference in building capability. It can be used as a tool for reflection, self-assessment and action planning.
Since the launch of our model we have tested it widely with the OD community and have developed two downloadable resources that make the model easy to access and use.  The Do OD app can be used digitally to carry out an interactive self-assessment, and there is also a downloadable word version.  At the heart of the model is our self as an instrument of change, drawing on our agency, instrumentality and passion as practitioners of OD.  

These resources won’t necessarily help you walk on your hands but it may give you a different view of your world and the one you are trying to change.

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