customization into a practical methodology, thisapproach changes organizations’ cultures faster,more predictably and more completely than waspreviously thought possible. It has created greatsuccess in organizations as diverse as high techmanufacturers, fast food restaurant chains, andconstruction companies. It has been successfullyapplied internationally in Japan, China, SouthAmerica, the UK and the US.
Executives’ Role in O.D.
Historically, O.D. has relied heavily on powerfulexecutives to drive cultural change. This is a sub-tle trap that undermines O.D. success. In mostcases, reliance on executives to aggressively sup-port O.D. has produced, at best, disappointingresults. Why do O.D. practitioners place, or morecorrectly “misplace,” so much credence in execu-tives?First, most corporate models are based on olderindustrial and military paradigms that give, atleast in theory, substantial decision-making pow-ers to the people at the top of the organizationalpyramid. The very nature of a classic organiza-tional chart tends to create a presumption of for-mal power for the executives. We naturally believe that this formal power is the primaryrequirement for successful O.D. because it has been espoused by business schools and reinforced by the statements and attitudes of these sameexecutives.Second, there is a strong expectation that a charis-matic executive will solve all organizational prob-lems (Collins, 2001). People such as Lee Iacocaand Jack Welsh are lionized for their leadership(while the Ken Lays of the world are quickly for-gotten). Our leaders are expected to be visible and bold, striding vigorously across the organizationallandscape, making fast, strong decisions thatmobilize people and markets. They are expected
28Organization Development Journal
is Vice-presidentof Product Development atCerebyte. He has 25 years ofexperience teaching, consultingand leading organizationaltransformations in many compa-nies. He has authored numerousarticles on organizationalchange. Michael holds an MBAin Management and is certified as a ProjectManagement Professional. He can be reached atMichael.McCauley@Cerebyte.com.
CerebyteP.O. Box 1674Lake Oswego, Oregon 97035