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Attributes of The OD Practitioner – The Diagnostic Phase

OD practitioners approach the diagnostic phase as much as an opportunity to begin the change journey and shake up the status quo as it’s importance as a data gathering process.

The diagnostic stage requires the OD practitioner to focus on how people are reacting to the process, the level of engagement and involvement of key stakeholders and the support available for the project.

The following is a list of attributes that the OD practitioner should possess if they are to successfully navigate the Diagnostic phase of an OD programme.

  • Methodical and structured approach
  • Diagnostic skills
  • Political sensitivity
  • Guiding hand
  • Relational
  • Theoretical founding in diagnostic design
  • Analytical
  • Managing Diversity
  • Seeking out common ground
  • Juggling multiple stakeholder groups
  • Action Planning
  • Collaboration
  • Facilitator
  • Trainer
  • Developer
  • Create learning opportunities
  • Ongoing progress evaluation
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Calming presence
  • Tough and supportive
  • Discerning
  • Tolerant of Ambiguity
  • Safe pair of hands
  • Shared responsibility

As well as collecting valid and robust data to support the case for change, the primary role of the OD practitioner in the diagnostic phase is to understand and analyse the political landscape.  Although not always overt, all organisations have a political system upon which the change process will succeed or fail.

Although the political system will often be aligned to the power system in regards to hierarchy, very often there is a separate system operating which deserves attention.

Understanding who needs to be involved, informed and engaged and identifying possible ‘terrorists’ who will seek to disrupt the OD programme is a key skills of the OD practitioner, and one that is often underestimated or ignored.


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