Organisational development requires strong leadership

It is not enough to have a well thought-out plan and strategy, but strong leadership is needed to make organisational development successful.

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Torben Nørby

Torben Nørby

CEO and Co-Founder


+45 2339 7595

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For an organisation to achieve better performance and effectiveness, strong leadership is essential when the organisation needs to develop and undergo necessary changes. Organisational development can strengthen the organisation’s ability to adapt to changes in the surrounding environment, and therefore it is important that management is able to take the necessary decisions and lead the organisation through change.

It is not enough to have a well thought-out plan and strategy, but strong leadership is needed to make organisational development successful.

Inefficiency, bureaucracy, collaboration challenges and lack of flexibility – there can be many reasons to initiate organisational development, but common to development processes is that they require a lot from you as a leader. Read on to learn more about organisational development and the demands it places on your leadership.

What is organisational development?

In short, organisational development is the process of improving and developing an organisation’s internal structures, processes and culture in order to achieve better performance and efficiency. Organisational development is a fundamental change of an organisation, initiated by top management and requiring a major effort by the whole organisation.

Organisational development is often based on an analysis of the current state of the organisation and the needs to achieve the desired improvements. Different methods and tools can be used in organisational development, such as change management, team building, change communication and conflict management.

Engage your employees in the development of the organisation

When top management decides to initiate organisational development, employee motivation is crucial. In short, it is your people’s participation and commitment to the project that will determine the success or failure of your organisational development.

When developing an organisation, it is important to create a culture where employees have the opportunity to take responsibility and contribute actively to development. And this places great demands on you as a manager.

While a well-designed plan and strategy are important to drive organisational development, it is leadership that makes transformation a reality. Therefore, when we at People & Performance work on organisational development, we work first and foremost on mobilising leaders.

2 leadership qualities that drive organisational development

Leadership is the cornerstone of organisational development, and good leadership should therefore be the starting point of any organisational development. In particular, two leadership qualities are essential to drive transformation forward:

1. Managing employees’ change reaction

Organisational development not only requires a lot from you as a manager, it also requires a lot from your staff and their readiness to change. Therefore, as a manager, there are many considerations you need to make and a number of questions you need to be able to answer. These include, but are not limited to

    • How do you manage employees’ reactions to change when you ask them to change their working practices from the management side?
    • How can you make the development that employees have to go through meaningful for them?
    • How can employees best contribute to the development of the organisation?

The task is to find out how to engage employees in organisational development while requiring them to take the necessary steps to make it happen.

2. Connect the road with the vision

The second task is about being able to connect the path with the vision and transformation. As a leader, you need to be able to connect the steps the organisation needs to take with where the organisation is going. This is especially true when you as a leader do not necessarily exactly know where you as an organisation are going with the development.

As a leader, you must be able to draw a clear line every day between the vision and the purpose it serves for the people the organisation was created to serve – be it a customer, a patient or someone else. Thus, through your communication and in everything you do, you must be able to link it to the individual’s work tasks, how it will affect the employee, what the organisational development is for, and what the requirements are for the individual to change.


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