A business case for strength-based OD approaches

June 16, 2022

For an organisation to achieve its desired goals there should a serious mindset shift towards adopting strength based organisation development (OD) approaches.

However, most organisations tend to lean towards the traditional top-down management practices which have been criticised for their concentration on top management views and thoughts living out the employee involvement within the organisation.

This week we focus on how organisations can leverage of the strength based OD approaches.

Strength based approaches to Organisation development allow for co-creation, a form of collaborative innovation   where ideas are shared and improved together, rather than kept to oneself.

The collaborative approach empowers individuals to set intrinsic goals which they are motivated to achieve.   Advocates of strength-based approaches believe that every individual within an organisation has potential, strengths, and capabilities.

Harnessing these individual characteristics helps an organisation to evolve and move along its journey together with its employees.

Organisations with innovation hubs are utilising their employees, effectively using individual employee’s potential, strengths, and capabilities.  Involving employees at all levels in organisational processes helps keep them engaged as solutions and strategies are developed by the people for the organisation.

Employees will also have a sense of belonging as their views and strengths are appreciated in the organisation.

This will promote employee retention as the employees are committed to building their desired organisation.

This leads to higher productivity and has a positive impact on the bottom line.

Above all, such involvement results in everyone owning the processes and outcomes which is a critical ingredient for success.

Strength based approaches facilitate systems thinking allowing for collaboration across departments as opposed to working in silos.

According to Peter Senge, “Systems thinking is a framework for seeing interrelationships, rather than things, for seeing patterns, rather than static snapshots……..”

It is worrying to realise that many organisations suffer from the silo syndrome where a distinction is made between them and us.

This is apparent in most organisations were there is a distinction between the Business development units and the support units.

Instead of working together to achieve organisational goals these units are often at tug of war to prove their worth within the organisation instead of working together to create value for the organisation.

To better understand the systems thinking concept we need to consider an organisation to be the human body made up of different parts.

Each of the different parts plays a critical role in the effective functioning of the body regardless of where it is positioned or its size.

Just because the eyes are prominent due to their position does not give less prominence to the lungs which are hidden inside the body.

Each of the organs contribute to the smooth and efficient functioning of the whole body.

This is so when it comes to the different department within an organisation.

Each department plays a critical role in contributing to the efficient functioning of the whole organisation. Successful leaders are aware of this and are catalysts of systems thinking in driving organisations towards the realisation of the organisation’s vision.

Strength based approaches enable organisations to build upon what they already know and their experience to envision the future.

Simply put, your employees know the process and procedures in your organisation as well as the solutions to the challenges since they are directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

Listening to employee conversations in the staff bus or canteen one would appreciate the depth of knowledge that employees have about their organisation.

By tapping into this wealth of knowledge organisations can foster change and develop the organisation.

The tragedy that exists in many organisations is that leaders believe they know everything at every level while regarding their subordinates as mere consumers of instruction from the top and all they do is to execute what comes from the top.

What should be clear for leaders is that every employee is  a CEO in their own right as they effectively run their families coordinating the different activities which result in the family success.

Strengths-based approaches concentrate on the inherent strengths of individuals, and organisations, deploying personal strengths to bring about positive change within the organisation.

There is need for a mindset shift within organisations to enable them to move from the inherent deficit-bias and an inertia that clouds their ability to feed strengths and fuel opportunities.

Paul Nyausaru is an OD Practitioner and leadership coach. You can get in touch with him on whatsapp/call +263774062756 or Email pnyausaru@gmail.com

Chiedza Kadare is an OD Practitioner. You can get in touch with her on whatsapp/call +263 77 283 0986 or Email chiedza.kadare@gmail.com




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