Course: Organization Development

Process intervention skills
INTRODUCTION...................................................................................................... 2 Process Intervention Skills: .................................................................................... 3 Types of Interventions ........................................................................................... 6 Results of Process Interventions ............................................................................ 9 Outcomes ......................................................................................................... 10 Interview with Yousef A. Almaimani, Senior Manager at NCB........................... 11 RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS........................................................... 17 References ........................................................................................................... 19


Organization Development has been defined in several ways by many authors. Beckhard (1969) defined organization development as “an effort (that is) (1) planned, (2) organization -wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s process, using behavioral-science knowledge”. A broader definition of Organization Development as cited by McLean (2006) is: ‘any process or activity, based on the behavioral sciences, that, either initially or over the long term, has the potential to develop in an organizational setting enhanced knowledge, expertise, productivity, satisfaction, income, interpersonal relationships, and other desired outcomes, whether for personal or group/team gain, or for the benefit of an organization, community, nation, region, or ultimately, the whole of humanity.’ (McLean, 2006) Finding ways to lead and develop organizations is a constant quest seeking to ensure competitiveness in a changing and dynamic world, which is illustrated by Forrester’s words calling change “the essence of the manager’s environment”. (Forrester, 1961) Organizations change in several ways: in organic, incremental processes of adapting to changing environments or in more abrupt organizational interventions. For many organizations, successful change remains an elusive goal. Indeed, most change initiatives end in failure. One reason for this failure may be the widespread use of mechanistic models of change that emphasize centralized control, routine behavior, and the prediction of specific outcomes (Morgan, 1998). These models are dependent upon a few underlying assumptions: only a few critical variables need to be evaluated, the sum of the parts is equivalent to the whole, causality is a linear relationship and decisions are efficiency centric (Olson & Eoyang, 2001).


Process Intervention Skills:
Process interventions are OD skills by OD practitioner, whether managers or OD professionals, to help work group become effective. Process interventions aim at helping the work group to become more aware of its own processes, including the way it operates, and using this knowledge to solve its own problem. Process interventions help the work group understand the impact of leadership styles and authority issues. Argyris describes organizational interventions from a task point of view stating: the interventionist’s primary tasks are to generate valid information, to help the client system make informed and responsible choices, and to develop internal commitment to these choices. (Argyris, 1971) Cummings, Thomas G. and Christopher G. Worley: Organizational Development and Change, Ohio 2001, p.142 describe the term intervention as “sequenced planned actions or events intended to help an organization increase its effectiveness. Interventions purposely disrupt the status quo; they are deliberately attempts to change an organization or sub-unit towards a different and more effective state.” (Cummings & Worley, 2009) Effective work groups must be able to identify problems, examine possible actions, and make decisions. Decisions can be reached by:   Voting Group consensus

Group Processes: Process interventions concentrates on how groups and individuals within those groups behave. Process is the ‘how of the group’. Content is the ‘what of the group’.



Leadership & Authority

Member Roles and Functions

Group Process

Group Norms and growth

Problem Solving and Decision Making

Figure 1 Group Process Interventions

Process interventions help the work group solve its own problems by making it aware of its process. The interventions focus on five areas crucial to effective organization performance: communication, member roles and functions in groups, group problem solving and decision making, group norms and growth, and leadership and authority. In discussing the process interventions, Schien (1999), has the following to say: 1. Process is always to be favored as an intervention focus over content. 2. Task process is always to be favored over interpersonal process. 3. Structural interventions are in principle the most powerful: but they are also most likely to be resisted.


The list of human processes that contribute to organizational effectiveness is extended to include intrapsychic process, cultural rules of interaction, and change processes as epitomized by Lewin’s unfreezing-moving-refreezing model.


•Examine status quo •Increase driving forces for change •Decrease resisting forces against


•Take action •Make changes •Involve people

Figure 2 Kurt Lewin’s Model of Change

•Make change permanent •Establish new way of things •Reward desired outcomes

Hackman & Wageman (2005) and Woolley (1998) suggested that the appropriateness of a facilitation method, such as coaching, depends on the stage of group process. During the early stage, when members are first meeting each other and getting to know the task and what is expected of them, they need to be motivated to work on the task and with each other. (Wageman, Hackman, & Lehman, 2005) (Woolley, 1998) Group processes may reflect how and what the group has learned. Kozlowski and Ilgen (2006) concluded that while teams that learn more collectively demonstrate enhanced effectiveness, there has been little research on the concept of team learning. Over time, group members learn interaction patterns that indicate a greater integration of talents, ideas, and behaviors, taking advantage of the skills and experiences among group members and creating a synthesis that is greater than any one individual in the group.

Types of Interventions
Process interventions differ in many ways. They are all about how the group is going about accomplishing its tasks. A practitioner’s process intervention skill should be as brief and crisp as possible and focus on only one behavior at a time. They should provide maximum impact and minimum interruption. The types of process interventions that may be used include clarifying, summarizing, synthesizing, generalizing, probing, questioning, listening, reflecting feelings, providing support, coaching, counseling, modeling, setting the agenda, feeding back observations and providing structural suggestions. Schein identifies three basic models of organizational interventions as being (1) The Purchase Expertise Model (2) The Doctor-Patient Model (3) The Process Consultation Model. In the Purchase Expertise Model, the role of the interventionist is to provide recommendations based on expert information and services, whereas the Doctor-Patient Model starts with an investigation of symptoms followed by analyses and recommendations made by the interventionist. The third intervention model, The Process Consultation Model, focuses rather on strengthening the organization’s own ability to identify the core problem in general, as well as finding a suitable solution in the specific situation. The Process Consultation Model focuses strongly on stakeholder involvement in the search for sustainable change. ASSUMPTIONS / PREMISES UNDERLYING DIFFERENT MODELS OF CONSULTING Purchase of Information or Expertise The client Doctor-Patient The client presents symptoms of the problem, but the doctor must go beyond the client’s described symptoms to gather a deeper Process Consultation The client sometimes presents symptoms of the problem, but more often presents a possible solution from which the underlying problem must be investigated.

Who defines the problem


understanding of the problem.

Who defines the solution

Mostly the client

The consultant (doctor).

Who implements the The consultant solution The client has the resources to sustain the solution, often including hiring the consultant if the need again occurs. Embodied in the solution

The consultant directs the client. The client may learn to sustain the solution, or it may be necessary to hire the consultant again. Embodied in the solution and any learning the client has done

How is the solution sustained?

Getting to the real problem is a joint effort of the consultant and the client. The consultant works with the client to arrive at a mutually understood solution. The client and consultant in partnership The client desires to (or because of limited resources, must) sustain the solution. Primarily in the learning by the client and their ability to use and maintain the solution. But also in the solution itself. Highest

How is capacity increased?

What is the level of interaction between the client and consultant? In what solution is model appropriately applied?



Appropriate only when clients can determine their needs correctly, have correctly identified consultant capabilities, can communicate their needs to the consultant and support (or can pay to support) the outcomes once the

Appropriate only when the client is experiencing clear symptoms, knows where the sick areas is, is willing to allow the consultant to intervene in the organization’s systems, and is willing to become dependent on the consultant for both

Appropriate when the client can and wants to learn, desiring to take greater control and responsibility for understanding problems as well as designing and implementing solutions. Appropriate when the client is

initial consultancy is over.

diagnosis and implementation.

motivated to work on improvements on an ongoing basis and wants to develop greater capacity to do it within their own organization.

Initial Contact with Client Organization

Establish the relationship

Select setting and method of working

Use diagnostic interventions and gather data

Use confronational interventions

Reduce involvement and terminate

Figure 3 the Process Consultation Model

Clarifying and Summarizing: Clarifying refers to resolving misunderstanding or incorrect perceptions in what members are saying and Summarizing refers to providing a summary of the major points and accomplishments of a discussion.

  

Synthesizing and Generalizing: Synthesizing occurs when several points and ideas are put together in a common theme. Probing and Questioning: When the group needs additional information or needs to explore additional ideas. Listening


Reflecting feelings: Reflecting feelings refers to communicating back to the speaker’s points of view. Most messages have two parts: the content and the speaker’s feeling, often expressed nonverbally.

Providing Support, Coaching, and Counseling: Providing support includes encouraging group members to talk and express ideas. The team is encourage to think about the problem and develop solutions. Coach and counseling may occur in a private meeting with individual, particularly the formal supervisor of the group.

Modeling: Because managers have many responsibilities, it is important for group members to learn how to make process interventions. Members should be encouraged to take over the role of process interventions.

 

Setting the Agenda Feedback Observation: Feedback to work groups can occur at meetings or to individuals after meetings. There should be no feedback to individuals or groups until they are ready to receive it.

Structural Suggestions: The manager makes structure suggestions about the work group membership, communication patterns, allocation of work, assignment of responsibly, and lines of authority.

Results of Process Interventions
Process interventions skills can be helpful to managers in dealing with subordinates and peers. Process interventions are methods useful in relating to people where organization members can learn to solve their own problems. The core skills of OD interveners certainly lies in “process observation” – the focus on what is going on between individuals and groups, for the purpose of helping people understand and cope with those dynamics. Three models for dealing with values get brief attention – they include needs, instrumentalities, and right-on models. The several needs model helped with values issues even as they neglected them.

 The Maslowian Pyramid  McGregor’s Theory X and Y  Herzberg’s motivators versus satisfiers  Argyris’s dimensions for self –actualization, among numerous several efforts. (Golembiewski, 2009) OD’s challenge is evident in terms of these two systems. One goal is to create regenerative interaction, wherever possible. The second major goal is to inhibit or reverse degenerative interaction, wherever and whenever it exists.

Interventions are supposed to improve group outcomes. Hackman and Wageman (2005) distinguished between three elements of group effectiveness: (1) Productive outcomes (the quality, quantity, speed, satisfaction of the group’s product, decision, report, and so on), (2) Experience (the learning acquired by the individual group members and the group as a whole), and (3) Social outcomes (the group’s well - being and ability to work together in the future). Generally, groups value outcomes that address process, relationships and issues (Moore, 2001). Facilitators can measure these outcomes to evaluate group progress and provide the group with feedback for guiding later interactions. (Moore, 2001)


Interview with Yousef A. Almaimani, Senior Manager at NCB
In this interview, he shares his experiences and views on innovation, within and beyond news organizations. Qs 1. In light of today's global economic climate, what can and should be the role of organizations? I think organizations need a two-part strategy. One part: spread the development message throughout the organization and look for new ideas everywhere. The second: one must have some separate resources set aside to troubleshoot problems, promote research and development group (even if that's one person). Operational units can come up with great ideas, but rarely have the bandwidth to see them through.

Qs 2. What is the most difficult problem you and your team have solved? Were there any surprises along the way? In the banking world, it was convincing customers that they should on the stability of our corporate governance and policy decisions. It took external forces to make that transition—fear that the changing economy might bring problems. But once customers saw that our policies and management didn't seem to cause any problems, it became more or less the standard.

Qs 3. In your experience with companies, how are outside consultants used in the innovation process? How do they integrate and work with in-house teams? I've both used and been a consultant. I think consultants are valuable to bring in new points of view, to give a fresh analysis of the existing systems, to spark new thinking. But innovation really needs to be crafted within the organization, or it just won't stick. I was working with the bank to update its last strategic planning document, which wasn't working well. The first tip-off: in-house, they still referred to it as "the consultant's plan."


Qs 4. When teams are working on a problem, or developing a product and hit a barrier beyond which they cannot move, what do you recommend? Depends on the barrier—but it's crucial to have someone high up in the organization who is covering for the innovators, providing extra resources, and breaking institutional log-jams, since these are very often the barriers that are the most troublesome.

Qs. 5. What are some of the obstacles that prevent teams from creating innovative products or coming up with new solutions? I think there are two within organizations. The first is vested interests, or preconceived notions about what the business really is. The second is the negative voices in the company. Not to single anyone out, but the shareholders and the sales people tend to be the toughest. It's necessary to go back and say, yes, I know that what we propose seems to have a big problem for you, but let's just brainstorm a bit about how it might be solved.

Qs. 6. Who do you think hold the most potential in your organization and how can it be developed? The key to unlocking organizational potential is winning the hearts and minds of middle managers. To do so, you have to recognize these people on both professional and personal levels. They are situated in the center of the organization, they are in the unique position of being close to everyone. Upper management communicates with them to get things done: they know how employees are feeling and whether or not they understand executive decisions; and they are close to their peers and can resolve cross-functional issues. Given their organizational clout, middle managers are crucial to enacting any kind of change. Their resistance can slow things down and even derail an important initiative or strategy. The challenge for executive management is thus making sure middle managers remain enthusiastic. This requires finding ways to reward them other than official promotions.


Qs. 7. How critical is organization culture for success in the business world? Your culture will determine whether your organization builds on past successes or implodes in the face of adversity. A high-performance culture is critical for building employee commitment and enthusiasm, acting with speed and flexibility and driving and sustaining growth. It is characterized by a clear, compelling, communicated corporate purpose to shape business decisions, generate customer loyalty and inspire employee passion and maximum contribution and shared organizational values that guide people as well as influence business practices and decisions as the organization delivers on its promises to all its constituents along with an environment that encourages individual ownership of both the organization’s bottom -line results and its cultural foundation.

Qs. 8. How important is organizational change in response to emerging customer demands, new regulations, and fresh competitive threats? Organizational change, obviously, is often imperative in response to emerging customer demands, new regulations, and fresh competitive threats. But constant or sudden change is unsettling and destabilizing for companies and individuals alike. Just as human beings tend to freeze when confronted with too many new things in their lives—a divorce, a house move, and a change of job, for example—so will organizations overwhelmed by change resist and frustrate transformation-minded chief executives set on radically overturning the established order. Burning platforms grab attention but do little to motivate creativity. Paradoxically, therefore, change leaders should try to promote a sense of stability at their company’s core and, where possible, make changes seem relatively small, incremental, or even peripheral, while cumulatively achieving the transformation needed to drive high performance. A large universal bank provides a case in point. Given the tumult in the financial-services sector in recent years, it needs to change, and change profoundly. But the cry of “let’s change everything” will be counterproductive in an organization where staff members are mostly hard-working, committed people operating processes that involve millions of transactions per hour.


Qs. 9. How can organizational leaders introduce change in organizations? Previously, leaders of each of the company’s functions had been inclined to introduce, on their own, changes they thought might generate value—for example, finance would launch a program to make costs variable, HR would announce an initiative to shake up performance management and compensation, and manufacturing would bring in new vendor-management systems. Hapless middle managers found themselves in a blizzard of change that made it difficult to focus on the organization’s top priorities. Now, before change programs are rolled out more broadly, all of them are integrated, and the resulting complexities are addressed at the top of the organization. In this way, the company’s underlying operating model has remained more stable than it would otherwise have been, and more stable than it used to be when changes were announced in an uncoordinated fashion. Managers now understand and accept the rhythm of change, while managers and employees alike have gained new confidence that the different elements in the releases will be complementary and coherent. The result is that a wellintentioned but disjointed flow of unending change has been converted into a well-structured one.

Qs. 10. How important is control and empowerment in an organization? All organizations need at least a thread of control to link those who own the business to those charged with implementing its objectives. Companies that neglect mechanisms that enforce discipline, common standards, or compliance with external regulation do so at their peril. The share price of one global energy group, for example, collapsed when it came to light that poor oversight had allowed internal analysts to develop metrics based on optimistic assumptions and to overstate the company’s oil and gas reserves substantially. Yet excessive control,

paradoxically, tends to drive dysfunctional behavior, to undermine people’s sense of purpose, and to harm motivation by hemming employees into a corporate straitjacket. The trick for the CEO-cum-plate-spinner is to get the balance right in light of shifting corporate and market contexts. In general, a company will probably need more control when it must actually change direction and more empowerment when it is set on the new course.

Qs. 11. Can you shed some light on Consistency and variability in the organization? Producing high-quality products and delivering them to customers on time and with the same level of consistency at every point in the value chain is critical to success in most industries. Variability is wasteful and time consuming, not to mention potentially alienating for customers. Most organizations therefore applaud behavior that attacks and eliminates it. Yet in human terms, consistency too often hardens into rigid mind-sets characterized by fear of personal and organizational failure. It’s been shown that we feel the pain of failure twice as much as we do the joy of success, so employees naturally tend to protect themselves and their teams, behavior that can inadvertently hamper innovation and calculated risk taking. After all, mistakes —from Edison’s countless failed filaments to 3M’s accidental creation of the adhesive behind Post -it notes—can sometimes be the mother of invention; as they say in the mountains, “If you’re not falling, you’re not skiing.”

Qs. 12. How would you define a healthy organization and how can you develop one? The case for health starts with an understanding of how it relates to performance. Performance is what an enterprise delivers to stakeholders in financial and operational terms. It is evaluated through such measures as net operating profit, return on capital employed, total returns to shareholders, net operating costs, and stock turns. Health is the ability of an organization to align, execute, and renew itself faster than the competition to sustain exceptional performance over time. It comprises core organizational skills and capabilities, such as leadership, coordination, or external orientation that traditional metrics don’t capture. More than a decade of research and even more of experience have led us to believe strongly that health propels performance—and that, in fact, at least 50 percent of any organization’s long-term success is driven by its health.


Qs. 13. What do you think is the difference between organization and productivity and efficiency? It’s often said that it's very difficult to be productive or efficient without being organized. But, it is possible to be "organized" and yet highly ineffective and unproductive. How important is organization to your ability to be productive and efficient? Enterprise work can be complex, and rarely are individuals working independently; most enterprise work is very collaborative and requires involvement from inside and outside the team. So individual organization only goes so far. More importantly, and more difficult, is the productivity and organization of the team and department. Most teams are busy, but not productive. Productivity sits at the intersection of efficiency and effectiveness. Productivity, then, is about doing the right things with the right quality in the right timeframe that deliver the right business outcome. It is about eliminating wasted efforts, timing delays in projects, and unnecessary busywork (efficiency gains) and working on the right tasks, providing necessary approvals when needed, engaging in productive collaboration to deliver on better outcomes (effectiveness gains). Individual organization works when a role has work that is simple (few steps), limited dependencies, no workflow, and little need for collaboration. This is the easiest type of work to organize and where most task-management solutions focus. An outcome-centric approach is very different than a traditional individual-centric approach. Outcome-centric ensures that the entire team is organized and aligned on what it takes to deliver on the desired outcomes (priority, workflow, collaboration, approvals). Our company, departments, and teams must first be organized to enable individual productivity.

Qs. 14. What values, if followed by all employees, will allow the organization to compete and thrive? Integrity, honesty, and transparency–I’ve mentioned them earlier. Those are critical.


Qs. 15. How are you working to change and improve the culture in the organization? We have been communicating more to staff about the organizational aspirations, but heard back that they did not understand it. They understood the words, but wanted to know how the organization would be different and how they would know if we were accomplishing the goals. We are trying to talk about the real issues, and what we have found is that people sometimes assume that their leaders are primarily concerned with operational efficiency and financial results. We realized that we need to be much more present with our staff than we have been in the past.

Qs. 16. What is your advice for other organizations and their leaders? Building quality improvement work into the leadership and governance structure so that it is not a project will be absolutely essential for sustainable change and transformation.

To be effective, a group must be able to identify problems, examine alternatives, and make decisions. The first part of this process is the most important. Groups often fail to distinguish between problems (either task-related or interpersonal) and symptoms. Once the group identifies the problem, a process consultant can help the group analyze its approach, restrain the group from reacting too quickly and making a premature diagnosis, or suggest additional options. Interventions are aimed at the process, content, or structure of the group. Process interventions sensitize the group to its own internal processes and generate interest in analyzing those processes. Interventions include comments, questions, or observations about · · · Relationships between and among group members Problem solving and decision making The identity and purpose of the group.

Content interventions help the group determine what it works on. They include comments, questions, or observations about · · · · Group membership Agenda setting, review, and testing procedures Interpersonal issues Conceptual inputs on task-related topics.

Structural interventions help the group examine the stable and recurring methods it uses to accomplish tasks. They include comments, questions, or observations about the following: · Methods for dealing with external issues, such as inputs, resources, and customers methods for determining goals, developing strategies, accomplishing work, assigning responsibility, monitoring progress, and addressing problems · Relationships to authority, formal rules, and levels of intimacy.

An intervention in group therapy is an action intended to bring about a change in the group’s focus. It requires the group leader to: · Have a solid understanding of what is happening within the group at a particular stage or moment, make a decision regarding what to do, and act to encourage and facilitate the change. An intervention can be in the form of an interpretation, question, request, or self-disclosure. A group leader may need to intervene when: · · · · there are difficulties in the group’s functioning, the group is avoiding process issues, members engage in an unconstructive discussion, or when group goals necessitate a shift in focus

The characteristics of an effective intervention include focus, immediacy, and responsibility.


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