Progressive organizations routinely look for an edge over the competition to enable increased market share, fertile revenue streams and sustainable growth. Such objectives highlight the need for astute Organizational Development (OD) practitioners who can rise above the corporate noise to initiate meaningful interventions in priority areas.
Unfortunately, too many organizations focus on the short term resolution of challenges failing to take a “Big Picture” perspective in terms of harnessing the inherent strengths and resources of an engaged workforce. Consequently, the efforts of OD practitioners are diluted by shortsighted corporate imperatives, while scapegoats are aggressively sought to blame for the failures. Fortunately, such misfortunes can be avoided .
This article introduces the REVITALIZE framework as a tool in providing a solid foundation for conducting effective Organizational Development interventions. It integrates the three key components of OD initiatives — Appreciative Inquiry (AI), Action Research (AR) and After Action Review (AAR) — with Astute Deployment and Ardent Inculcation to ensure maximum probability of achieving success in attaining desired goals.
Let’s get acquainted with the REVITALIZE framework.
Realize & Embrace
This refers to the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) stage of the REVITALIZE framework. It requires cognizance of the key issues within the organization that merit an OD intervention. It encompasses unadulterated exploration and sound understanding of the multidimensional aspects of the challenge(s) faced. It demands wholehearted appreciation and precise leveraging of the organization’s inherent strengths to effectively overcome any actual or potential detrimental aspects associated with the respective situation.
It requires honestly reflective leadership, a progressive mindset, and willingness to engage in an open and productive dialogue with all the key stakeholders to formulate solutions. It includes having a clear picture of the destination coupled with a convincing strategic narrative and an efficient OD “Intervention Plan” adorned with relevant tools and techniques to accomplish the desired objective(s) within the stipulated time frame.
Verify & Implement
This refers to the Astute Deployment stage of the REVITALIZE framework. It requires careful review of the OD Intervention Plan before moving forward with the remedial measures.
It includes the identification, selection and appointment of key personnel who are charged with ensuring timely and efficient application of all intervention steps, tools and techniques. It requires visible and unwavering leadership support. It demands unequivocal communication to proactively address the concerns of impacted parties. It requires timely monitoring of progress, seamless dissemination of updates and informed resolution of deviations from the OD Intervention Plan. It requires the effective utilization of critical incident technique (CIT) and incentivizing the keeping of daily diaries for securing a healthy knowledge bank for later reference.
Test & Analyze
This refers to the Action Research stage of the REVITALIZE framework. It requires an exhaustive periodic exercise by the project team in gauging the robustness of the implemented solution by weighing the potential for less than ideal conditions that may present themselves once the formal OD intervention process has been completed. This would ensure that any aspect that could jeopardize the whole initiative is timely and suitably mitigated. It includes the assessment of past actions, employed processes and subsequent results with the intended outcomes in accordance with the OD Intervention Plan and asking questions that will illuminate areas of concern to reduce unforeseen challenges. Presence of an accessible and healthy knowledge bank would be critical to the success of this stage.
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Learn & Improve
This refers to the After Action Review stage of the REVITALIZE framework. It requires a painstaking review of the OD intervention activities to find the primary drivers of success or shortcomings and ingrain the lessons learnt in future OD initiatives. It involves all the key stakeholders and is generally facilitated by the person with the primary responsibility for conducting the OD intervention.
Honest, unbiased and reflective perspectives are actively solicited to ensure that a clear picture emerges with respect to what was planned and what was achieved. There is a strong commitment to continuous improvement behind this whole exercise and all participants are expected to take appropriate corrective or preventive actions to ensure a solid foundation for success in future OD endeavors. Relevant records of such a forum are a highly valuable addition to the knowledge bank.
Zest & Embed
This refers to the Ardent Inculcation stage of the REVITALIZE framework. It is a visible celebration of success, recognizing and rewarding the contribution of team members and conveying gratitude to the key stakeholders. It is also a form of motivational communication and positive reinforcement for whatever behavior modification is required throughout the organization. It is designed to increase the engagement levels and create a domino effect of success.
A critical aspect of this stage is the discipline to effectively ingrain the lessons within the organizational fabric to facilitate future OD initiatives. There is always a chance of complacency once the euphoria of success simmers down. Therefore, formal and informal means of gauging organizational alertness should be a strategic imperative to maintain the steady stride to performance excellence. The significance of securing an accessible and current knowledge bank cannot be overstated, especially, during employee turnover situations.
The REVITALIZE framework is primarily geared towards cementing a solid foundation for conducting OD interventions methodically. It is inherently prescriptive in nature, refraining from recommending specific cures to ensure preserving the organizational uniqueness tailored by internal and external environmental factors. It is the prerogative of the responsible OD practitioner to choose the REVITALIZE framework for designing and deploying a suitable OD intervention that can embody its core aspects while maintaining the distinct individuality in form and function.