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When you talk to any Entrepreneur in the SME sector for more than 5 minutes they talk about people and performance challenges. Large corporations take the route of Organisational Development (OD) to change the complex environment prevailing in the business and its beliefs, attitudes, values and structure of organizations. This helps organisations to adapt to new technologies, markets, challenge and all this starts and ends with people.

This has been the definition of OD since 1969.

We have experienced why OD doesn’t work in SME (Small and Medium sized Enterprises) (50-1000 employees as an autonomous business unit or legal entity). We wish to share the same to you.

The change activities have to be aligned to the new organisational goals considering the planned growth and challenges. In reality it’s nowhere close to the planned target.
Growth cannot be achieved without bringing people together. If you want to bring people together you need a common bonding factor. That is culture of the organisation.

Unless it is defined, practiced rigorously, uninfluenced by the outcomes and subjected to change only for good, the culture is never set.

People effort/skill/knowledge development alone never contributes to the business growth. There is a need for overall corporate development. Change never happens in the business practices beyond certain period.

Organisation has many stakeholders both internal and external stakeholders. In most of the SME’s the external stakeholders provide solutions for internal business challenges. Internal stakeholders communicate the outcome of the challenges, instead of real challenge which limits the solution providing ability for the external stakeholders.  This not only builds lack of credibility with the operations, but also with the customer resulting in overall failure.

Poor buying decisions without accommodating the change factors result in huge inventory and thus pushing the business backwards. This could be because of lack of participation in strategic meetings for the growth.

Every task has to be evaluated frequently under various factors to limit the cost and time of the errors. Most of the time they go back to routine and be comfortable there.
One key reason for the above factors is lack of time management among the managers who are key resources who drive the change. Without the heartfelt support of these managers understanding the ground level challenges would take a longer time during the implementation of change. Most of the managers are uncomfortable with change. Thus the managers also fail to look at bottlenecks and turn around strategies which result in huge failures for change initiatives.

No one is the mother for change. Everyone wants others to take responsibility to drive it forward. This is key factor for failure of the OD process.

So what do we do to ensure change is for growth?

We have to set miles stones and measure it frequently on the progress. This will also enable evaluation of policy and strategy to be more effective. In other words before undertaking any OD activity we need to undertake some form of quantitative diagnostic process. This will then act as a reference point for all future development interventions and aid the evaluation of success and ROI.

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