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A Comprehensive Guide to Organizational Development

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A Comprehensive Guide to Organizational Development

Imagine it’s 2005, and a small drinkware business opens up in the center of town. Although they have a simple website to provide store information and field online inquiries, their collection of customized mugs, shot glasses, and more continuously grow in popularity due to loyal customers and word of mouth.

Now imagine it is 2015. The small team has done well for itself; however, its online presence is suffering. Underestimating the shift to online shopping, the company cannot handle the influx of questions, feedback, and requests to create an eCommerce platform.

Once they’ve identified this problem, how do they implement changes to field this issue and stop it from happening again?

Successful businesses require systems and processes. If situation A happens, what are the steps in response? Organizational development (OD) enables companies with a systematic approach to identifying issues, implementing changes, and evaluating the success of the process.

What is organizational development?

Organizational development is a systematic process aimed at initiating and implementing changes in the values or operations of an organization to promote long-term growth and efficiency. It equips organizations with the tools to assess themselves and advance their core strategies, processes, and structures in response to internal and external changes.

OD serves to increase communication and productivity, improve products and services, create a workplace culture that embraces advancement and increase profit margins.

Organizational Development and Human Resources

Organizational development and human resource management are both processes centered on people. The two are often confused due to overlap; however, the former is a more holistic approach to organizational change while the latter prioritizes the individual.

Career planning, diversity orientations, and employee assistance programs are all examples of human resource management. While the outcome of HRM affects the overall organizational development of a company, it focuses on managing one individual.

Meanwhile, OD works at all levels within an organization. One person lies at the center of some OD processes, for example, individual interventions and job enrichment, but organizational development functions on individual, group, and organizational levels.

Understanding and explaining the similarities and differences between OD and HRM can be challenging. It helps to understand the following: Human resource management enhances the employee experience and ultimately benefits the organization. Organizational development focuses on aligning employees with the company’s values.

Organizational Development Interventions

OD interventions allow organizations to make successful changes. Interventions are actions taken to improve a situation. Ultimately, these structured processes help enact the changes to advance the values or operations of an organization.

The four organizational development interventions are:

  • Human Process
  • Technostructural
  • Strategic Change
  • Human Resource Management

Human Process

Human process interventions aim to improve interpersonal relations at the individual, group, and organizational levels. These take place in response to changes that happen within an organization.

Individual interventions provide employees with coaching on interpersonal skills — conflict management, team building, and body language — in the event of new hires or internal transitions.

Similarly, group interventions affect the structure or process of a group that might be necessary for department changes. Large-scale changes, however, like the introduction of new company goals and vision, are examples of organizational interventions.

Technostructural

Technostructural interventions are programmed changes to revitalize a company’s structure and processes. The initiation of this OD intervention should match the fast pace of the tech and job industries. These types of interventions follow an approach based on improving an organization’s technology and structure through job design, system changes, workplace hierarchy, and more.

Strategic Change

Strategic interventions help increase competitive advantage and how an organization can implement changes to its structure, processes, or policies to make it happen. They are especially effective when companies undergo changes to their function, for example, replacing core products or services with something new, or when they experience trans-organizational changes in the form of mergers or acquisitions.

Human Resource Management

Human resource management (HRM) interventions focus on integrating, developing, and supporting individuals within a company. An example of this is the implementation of diversity programs to ensure employees feel represented and included in the workforce regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, and race.

Organizations implement the four OD intervention methods in numerous ways ranging from individual or organizational levels. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Organizational Development Examples

Most organizational development initiatives can fit within one of the four intervention categories mentioned above. Examples of OD include:

organizational development examples

Individual Interventions

Individual interventions are an example of human process interventions. They are aimed at behavior modification. This action usually happens in response to issues in the workplace. A well-known example of interventions that we see in pop culture is for alcohol and drug use.

Typically when the use of these addictive substances becomes excessive, the concerned family and friends of the individual confront them with the negative impact of their substance abuse. These interventions often end with a plea to seek treatment. Alternatively, individual interventions in the workplace usually occur in response to situations like lack of communication or workplace errors.

Job Enrichment

Job enrichment enables the management of employees in a way that creates growth opportunities. This techno structural intervention technique involves creating and redesigning jobs that account for the interest and skills of the individual. Its goal at an organizational level is to create a motivating job for employees.

A job enrichment program might include interventions as simple as increasing an employee’s autonomy by allowing them to decide when to take their break. Depending on the industry, another example of job enrichment is job rotation — moving employees from department to department to increase their skill set.

Transformational Change

IHOP sign with a B that demonstrates transformational change

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Transformational change is literally a transformation of the organization at its core. For example, if IHOP decided to focus on burgers instead of the popular breakfast food pancakes, this would be a transformational change for the company. These changes often occur to keep up with changing consumers.

Performance Management

Performance management is a well-known example of HRM. It is a continuous process between an employee and their supervisor that includes setting expectations and goals, providing feedback, and evaluating performance.

Hence, performance reviews fall under this initiative. Both job enrichment and performance management focus on the individual, but the latter supports the individual more than the organization.

Organizational Development Models

After an organization has identified a problem, it is time to address it. Organizational development models provide step-by-step processes to initiate and guide the changes needed to reach the desired outcome. The European Centre for Research Training and Development UK lists the four organizational development models as:

  • Lewin’s Three-Stage Model
  • Action Research Model
  • Appreciative Inquiry Model
  • General Model of Planned Change

Lewin’s Three-Stage Model

Proposed by social scientist Kurt Lewin in 1947, the core components of this model are unfreezing, moving, and refreezing. Unfreezing involves loosening the structures around the current system or going against the status quo in preparation for step two.

Moving is when the organization introduces and implements the decided changes. Communication with employees during this stage is especially crucial to facilitate a smooth transition.

During the last step — refreezing — the organization has already integrated the changes. Reinforcement is a significant part of this step. It ensures that the new policies have become the standard among all employees.

Action Research Model

The action research model also credits Kurt Lewin as its creator. According to the social scientist, this model has two purposes — solving problems and generating new knowledge.

The action research model follows a continuous eight-step process: problem identification, consultation with behavioral science experts, data gathering and preliminary diagnosis, feedback to key clients or groups, joint diagnosis of a problem, joint action planning, action, and data gathering. After data gathering, the process returns feedback to key clients or groups and repeats.

Appreciative Inquiry Model

First proposed in 1987, the appreciative inquiry model is also called the ‘positive model.’ Instead of focusing on the negative, it focuses on the successes of the organization. The goal is to equip members with the skills to identify when the organization is running well and optimize these conditions to get better results.

General Model of Planned Change

In 2009, organizational experts and professors Thomas Cummings and Christopher Worley proposed a general model for planned change. The four steps are: entering and contracting, diagnosis and feedback, planning and implementation, evaluation, and institutionalization.

Because organizational change is rarely linear and involves overlap and feedback, the process continues after the final step by returning to a previous one.

Organizational development is a long process.

Organizational development is not a process that happens overnight. It is a long, continuous cycle of initiating, implementing, and evaluating change in an organization.

Whether it is happening at the individual, group, or organizational levels, organizational development has one goal — to promote the long-term growth and productivity of a company.

Guide to Agency Org Structures


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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

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7 Things Creators Should Know About Marketing Their Book

Writing a book is a gargantuan task, and reaching the finish line is a feat equal to summiting a mountain.

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Being position-less secures a marketer’s position for a lifetime

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Optimove Positionless Marketer Optimove

On March 20, 2024, the Position-less Marketer was introduced on MarTech.org and my keynote address at Optimove’s user conference.

Since that initial announcement, we have introduced the term “Position-less Marketer” to hundreds of leading marketing executives and learned that readers and the audience interpreted it in several ways. This article will document a few of those interpretations and clarify what “position-less” means regarding marketing prowess.

As a reminder, data analytics and AI, integrated marketing platforms, automation and more make the Position-less Marketer possible. Plus, new generative AI tools like ChatGPT, Canna-GPT, Github, Copilot and DALL-E offer human access to powerful new capabilities that generate computer code, images, songs and videos, respectively, with human guidance.

Position-less Marketer does not mean a marketer without a role; quite the opposite

Speaking with a senior-level marketer at a global retailer, their first interpretation may be a marketer without a role/position. This was a first-glance definition from more than 60% of the marketers who first heard the term. But on hearing the story and relating it to “be position-less” in other professions, including music and sports, most understood it as a multidimensional marketer — or, as we noted, realizing your multipotentiality. 

One executive said, phrasing position-less in a way that clarified it for me was “unlocking your multidimensionality.” She said, “I like this phrase immensely.” In reality, the word we used was “multipotentiality,” and the fact that she landed on multidimensionality is correct. As we noted, you can do more than one thing.

The other 40% of marketing executives did think of the “Position-less Marketer” as a marketing professional who is not confined or defined by traditional marketing roles or boundaries. In that sense, they are not focused only on branding or digital marketing; instead, they are versatile and agile enough to adjust to the new conditions created by the tools that new technology has to offer. As a result, the Position-less Marketer should be comfortable working across channels, platforms and strategies, integrating different approaches to achieve marketing goals effectively.

Navigating the spectrum: Balancing specialization and Position-less Marketing

Some of the most in-depth feedback came from data analytic experts from consulting firms and Chief Marketing Officers who took a more holistic view.

Most discussions of the “Position-less Marketer” concept began with a nuanced perspective on the dichotomy between entrepreneurial companies and large enterprises.

They noted that entrepreneurial companies are agile and innovative, but lack scalability and efficiency. Conversely, large enterprises excel at execution but struggle with innovation due to rigid processes.

Drawing parallels, many related this to marketing functionality, with specialists excelling in their domain, but needing a more holistic perspective and Position-less Marketers having a broader understanding but needing deep expertise.

Some argued that neither extreme is ideal and emphasized the importance of balancing specialization and generalization based on the company’s growth stage and competitive landscape.

They highlight the need for leaders to protect processes while fostering innovation, citing Steve Jobs’ approach of creating separate teams to drive innovation within Apple. They stress the significance of breaking down silos and encouraging collaboration across functions, even if it means challenging existing paradigms.

Ultimately, these experts recommended adopting a Position-less Marketing approach as a competitive advantage in today’s landscape, where tight specialization is common. They suggest that by connecting dots across different functions, companies can offer unique value to customers. However, they caution against viewing generalization as an absolute solution, emphasizing the importance of context and competitive positioning.

These marketing leaders advocate for a balanced marketing approach that leverages specialization and generalization to drive innovation and competitive advantage while acknowledging the need to adapt strategies based on industry dynamics and competitive positioning.

Be position-less, but not too position-less — realize your multipotentiality

This supports what was noted in the March 20th article: to be position-less, but not too position-less. When we realize our multipotentiality and multidimensionality, we excel as humans. AI becomes an augmentation.

But just because you can individually execute on all cylinders in marketing and perform data analytics, writing, graphics and more from your desktop does not mean you should.

Learn when being position-less is best for the organization and when it isn’t. Just because you can write copy with ChatGPT does not mean you will write with the same skill and finesse as a professional copywriter. So be position-less, but not too position-less.

Position-less vs. being pigeonholed

At the same time, if you are a manager, do not pigeonhole people. Let them spread their wings using today’s latest AI tools for human augmentation.

For managers, finding the right balance between guiding marketing pros to be position-less and, at other times, holding their position as specialists and bringing in specialists from different marketing disciplines will take a lot of work. We are at the beginning of this new era. However, working toward the right balance is a step forward in a new world where humans and AI work hand-in-hand to optimize marketing teams.

We are at a pivot point for the marketing profession. Those who can be position-less and managers who can optimize teams with flawless position-less execution will secure their position for a lifetime.

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Profit More, Work Less: 4 Steps to Niching Down For Your Agency

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Profit More, Work Less: 4 Steps to Niching Down For Your Agency

Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Ever wonder what the most successful agencies did differently than everyone else?

Was it luck, skill, hard work, the industry they chose, or something else?

Through my consulting work at Revenue Boost, I’ve worked with and taught over 400+ agencies how to scale their business.

From this, I’ve seen consistent patterns & traits in the ones who grow effortlessly…

Versus the ones who stay stuck for years – no matter how hard they work.

One key difference in approach stuck out to me.

I’ll illustrate what this one difference was with a story.

Once upon a time…

Two marketers graduated from business school with big plans to start their own agency. 

Ready to conquer the world, they started cold calling, cold emailing, and doing everything under the sun to get clients.

And although they had the SAME levels of work ethic and talent…

One of them now has an 8-figure agency.

The other one of them is still freelancing odd jobs, barely making ends meet.

What did the successful one do differently?

He took a big risk and started turning down clients and projects.

Instead of offering everything to everyone, like most agency owners…

And being a jack of all trades but a master of none…

He decided only to serve Plumbers and be the best dang’ plumbing marketer on the planet.

With a goal to make their pipeline fuller than a broken toilet pipe.

1716128762 859 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128762 859 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

He mastered the art of niching down and realized it would be easier to be the biggest fish in a small pond.

And you should too – and in this article, you’ll learn exactly how to define your own niche.

Now it may seem scary to turn down clients…and it may feel like you’re limiting yourself by focusing on only one client-type.

But it’s exactly the opposite. You’re actually limiting yourself by being everything for everybody.

Niching Down Can Help 2x-3x Your Revenues

One of my clients Lauren ran a digital agency offering everything under the sun.

Social media, paid ads, web dev, SEO, and she offered it to clients from many different industries.

Because of this, her agency stayed stuck at $25,000 a month and she couldn’t break through.

On top of that, she and her team worked so much harder than they had to and operations were messy.

Every client needed different things, required customization, and nothing was standardized.

We sat together to audit all her past clients, and we found that Medical practices were her best clients.

They were easy to sell, stayed the longest, and gave her the least amount of headaches and complaints.

So, she changed her entire business model to ONLY service this industry.

Then, she developed a standardized offer for that industry, rather than customizing everything.

One offer, to one target market. Afterwards, she started cold emailing businesses in her niche with her new offer.

The Results?

 She 2X’d her revenues and grew to $52,000 in monthly revenue in not even four months time.

All from making one simple shift. One decision that can make everything easier, and you can do the same.

See, most agency owners and marketers start out with one or two clients, and then they get referred new clients from various industries.

Before they know it, they’re marketing everything for everyone and have NO idea who their ideal client is.

The Problem with Running a Business This Way Is That It Becomes Impossible to Scale.

Every single new client requires a ton of research, thought, and brainpower.

1716128762 609 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128762 609 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Because each new client has different needs, it leads to having no standardized processes and systems.

Which keeps the founder stuck in the business and unable to hire a team.

The other problem that arises is acquisition.

There are hundreds of thousands of agencies on the planet, and it’s really hard to stand out.

UNLESS you specialize.

When you specialize in a niche – let’s say, SEO for plumbers…

Then you aren’t competing with every other agency on the planet. You don’t look and sound just like them anymore.

Now, you’ve created your own tiny pond in which you can be a big fish.

There are way fewer agencies that specialize in plumbers or SEO, let alone both. So, you’ve eliminated the competition with one decision.

If a plumber was looking at two agencies – one that was a general digital agency and one that specializes in helping plumbers…

They almost always choose the agency that specializes in their industry and has testimonials from people just like them.

Not to mention, it’s easier to market when you have a clear niche in mind.

You know who you’re writing your content for…

You know who to send emails and social media DMs too…

You know exactly who to target in your ads….

You know what podcasts you should get booked on

And so on and so on.

Plus, you can charge whatever prices you want. Because you aren’t compared to the hundreds of thousands of agencies out there – you have a unique offer now.

Committing to one niche makes marketing easier, it makes selling easier, and it makes scaling easier.

You only have to be good at doing 1 thing for 1 person, and you can build systems and processes around it. This way, you can hire a team to take it over and be able to work less.

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Now how do you do it? What if you don’t know who your ideal client is?

Step 1: Audit Your Current + Past Client List.

Write down every single client you’ve ever served, and group them by niche. Industry, location, size and so on.

Once you group them together, one niche might stick out for you already as your favorite type of client.

If it doesn’t, use my 7-Point checklist and rank each niche on a 1-5 scale.

These 7 criteria points are what makes a great niche.

#1 – Total Addressable Market:

How many businesses are in this market? Is it large enough to support your bigger goals? Is the market shrinking or growing? Make sure the niche is big enough for you and that it’s not declining.

#2 – Purchasing Power

Is this market (or at least a segment of it) able to afford what you want to charge?

Think back to if you’ve received a lot of pricing objections when you’ve sold to these people in the past.

#3 – Lifetime Value

How long did these clients stay? Were they one-and-done projects or did they stay with me for eternity?

The bigger the life-time value, the more money and time you can spend to acquire a client.

If the niche typically churns in a few months or only works with you for quick, one-off projects…

Then you’ll have to spend so much energy on sales and marketing to keep the business alive.

#4 – Strong Need & Pain

Does this market have an important problem to solve, one that they have to fix? Or, is what you sell just a “nice to have”?

If the latter, it’s going to be very hard to get clients.

If they can’t live without your solution, then getting clients will be a breeze.

#5 – Desire to Solve that Pain

It’s one thing for a market to have a problem, but they must also have a desire to solve that problem.

Even if they have the need that you fulfill, that’s not enough – they also have to care about fulfilling that need.

#6 – Easy to Reach

Is the market fairly easy to find online? Can you reach them via most advertising platforms and social channels? Are their groups and communities online?

If you’re targeting businesses that are hard to reach online, you’re creating one extra barrier to your success.

Step 2: Choose 1 Niche After Ranking Each of Your Past Clients.

1716128763 995 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For1716128763 995 Profit More Work Less 4 Steps to Niching Down For

Tally up all the rankings and pick the 1 with the highest score.

Don’t worry about making the wrong decision.

Consider this an experiment.

You aren’t married to your new niche, you can always change back in a few months if it doesn’t work out.

Step 3: Create a Pre-Packaged Offer for Your New Niche

The whole point of niching down is to create more focus and simplicity in your business

Part of this is about WHO you sell, part of this is about WHAT you sell them.

Start out by choosing 1 problem to solve for them, and 1 solution to that problem.

List out what the deliverables will be and what you want to charge.

Keep it simple! You can build upon this later.

Step 4: Test the Waters and Go Land 5 New Clients.

Before you make any drastic changes to your business, such as letting go of clients, changing your branding and website…

Test the waters first, and verify if this new niche is the direction you want to go.

Go land another 5 clients or so, and that’ll be enough to identify if these are really our ideal clients or not.

You might think they are at first but you’ll know for sure once you serve more of them.

Wrapping Up…

You know now the problems of being a jack-of-all-trades with no clear focus.

Every new client is a ton of work and requires customization…

And getting new clients is difficult because there’s nothing that stands out about your agency. You’ll look and sound like everyone else.

This means when you do niche down, and sell 1 offer to 1 target market…

Your workload will decrease. Each new client will be easier to serve than the previous one.

You’ll become world-class at helping your clients from all the focused repetition

You’ll quickly develop a reputation and become a big fish in a small pond.

In every way, it’ll become easier to grow, scale, attract, and retain clients.

Plus, you’ll have more fun and the business will be simpler & easier to run.

And with this knowledge…

You’ve learned the 5 simple steps to niching down.

So…

Time to get to work!

Put this into practice and watch it transform your business.


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