The Role and Style of Organizational Development Consultant
Week 2 – Assignment
Write a two- to three-page paper (excluding the title and reference pages) defining the various components of the roles and styles of Organizational Development Consultants (ODC). Based on your research, compare and contrast the roles and styles of an ODC and explain the role and style that would best fit you as an ODC.
You need to utilize at least two scholarly sources (excluding your text) for this paper and your paper must be formatted according to APA style guidelines as outlined in the Writing Center.
Week Two Lecture
Let us begin with an understanding of what a consultant is. As a consultant, you will utilize your expertise, attempt to influence an individual, group, or organization and have no direct power to make changes. Your goals are to be authentic, create relationships, and solve problems. For a consultant, it is important you educate clients so that they utilize your expertise. Sounds simple enough…How does that actually happen? First, the consultant must work within a structured framework.
Block (1981) outlines the following from which to work:
- Entry and Contracting
- Matching a client’s wants with roles and offers
- Setting of ground rules
- Data Collection and Diagnosis
- Symptom or underlying problem: the consultant must determine if the real issue/problem is as the client stated or has the consultant determined it is merely a symptom of a larger issue.
- Identify resistance: client or your own. Is the client resisting letting you in and are you resisting their apprehension?
- Present and report results in the detailed manner in which your client can receive it.
- Manage anxiety: yours and the clients. Consultants may feel anxious about delivering the results and the client may be anxious to hear the actual data and findings.
- This is what you have been waiting for! This stage is the crescendo of the consultant and client’s work. This stage is the process of carrying out the results of the data collected.
- Design a plan that encourages participation, choice, and conversation.
- At this stage, the consultant and client review the project and decide if the relationship needs to be terminated due to closure of the project or if it will be extended to a larger segment of the organization.
You have the overarching guide to develop a consulting agreement; however, do not stop here. There are additional elements to consider when entering into an agreement with a client or when providing a client with a proposal for services.
Block (1981) further outlines elements of a contract and recommends consultants follow them in order to assure their client they possess the expertise necessary for the project at hand.
- Boundaries and Analysis: Make a statement of what problem/issue you as a consultant will be focusing on.
- Objectives of the Project: As a consultant, you identify areas of the organization that will improve if you are successful.
- Information you seek: Specify the information and depth of information you need such as data, workflow, employee attitudes, or behaviors surrounding issue, or any technical information that might be useful.
- Your role (consultant): Define how you would like to work. Do you expect a collaborative relationship? If so, make clear that this is a partnership and both parties will work and share in a 50/50 manner. While almost no relationship is 50/50, by making this statement up front, you as the consultant are putting the client on notice that this is not “YOUR” project alone.
- Product you will deliver: Be very specific and detailed in relaying to the client what you will or will not deliver and the format in which you will deliver your results. Will you provide only a written report; will you provide both a written report along with a presentation of your findings? How detailed will your findings be? In addition, do you plan to provide detailed recommendations with the findings? These are all important details to include in your contract. While you may not be able to define or predict all of your responses to these questions, it will be important that you establish an overarching expectation.
- Client Support/Involvement: This portion of the contracting is critical, as this is where you make clear exactly what you need to ensure this project is successful. Things that might be included (but not all) are communication and expected amounts, access to files, data and/or employees, or assistance from a designated employee in analyzing the data.
- Time Schedule: Layout the timeline from the beginning, identify intermittent milestones, and state the end date.
- Confidentiality: Since you will generally be dealing with multiple individuals, management, and multiple organizational decision makers, it is important that you identify who receives the final report and data analysis. Once identified, make it known that at the discretion of that individual the results may be dispersed.
- Feedback: As an option, you can include in the contract that ninety to one hundred eighty days after the project is completed you are interested in receiving feedback on the project and impact it has had. This feedback will be valuable to your future consulting and your growth as a consultant.
Block, P. (1981). Flawless consulting: A guide to getting your expertise used (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer.
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