February 6, 2018 in My thoughts

#HRD18 – Putting OD at the Heart of HR – Lesley Swarbrick- Time Inc

We star with an interactive session, dividing into groups based on which of the following four topics we feel drawn to:

  • Discuss what Organisation Development means to you
  • HR practitioners shouldn’t do Organisational Development
  • Organisation Development is best done by external experts
  • Organisational Development and HR is a match made in heaven

There are many ways to ‘do’ OD; sometimes you need to bring somebody external in, sometimes it works brilliantly well to develop your own OD team, but Lesley believes HR people are at their most effective when they do their work with an OD lens. To borrow Edgar Scheins’s definition, OD is about ensuring that the organisation is healthy. OD allows us to gather data in a quantitive way (surreys) and in a dialogical approach (talking with people).

Not long after Lesley joined Time Inc, they launched 59 workstreams (badged ‘Lets’s Talk’) to transform the organisation, and the organisational culture. The change was significant, including relocations, offshoring, restructures, and the implementation of key systems.

Loads of techniques were used, including making use of open space, and fishbowl sessions:

Telling the story was vital, and they defined 6 chapters with a consistent narrative so that the story could be told to leaders at all levels (for instance, one of the chapters is all about heritage and how Time Inc came to be the organisation it is today). This extended story-telling led to the bringing together of disparate groups with the opportunity to share. They applied Lencioni’s 5 dysfunctions model, using it to reinforce the importance of vulnerability and this led to a lot of really valuable conversations.

The next steps in Time Inc are to put OD at the heart of everything they do as this is a people thing.

This was live-blogged during a session at the HRD Summit 2018 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in. I’ve also curated the story of the session as told through the tweets of the attendees (you might need to tap ‘load more tweets’ to see the full story):

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