Best-practice interventions in the field of organization transformation


In this section, we want to feature best-practice interventions currently being used by coaches, consultants, and senior executives  who are either leading or supporting Organizational Transformation (OT) efforts. We also want to highlight best-practice interventions that will help you understand how to think about organization transformation in ways that will help you learn how to successfully implement high quality organization transformation interventions within your organizations. 

For the past several months, we've been reading OT ads, case studies, books, and articles online and offline, and talking with colleagues searching for best-practice interventions we could highlight. We discovered a number of interesting interventions that initially seemed like they would be worth profiling. 

However, upon closer examination, it appeared that what we actually discovered were interesting OT interventions that were being implemented in various organizations without the support of a clearly articulated theoretical foundation to explain what was being done, or why or how these interventions were going to create the transformational results they were aiming for. 

In 1986, Amir Levy and Uri Merry described the organization transformation field this way;  "...there has not been, as yet, any comprehensive publication covering the field..." In light of what we've discovered in the last few months, we've been thinking a lot about what Levy and Merry said 30 years ago. We looked hard for best-practice interventions that matched good theory with interventions that promised good results. But what we found seems to suggest that Levy and Merry are still right: There currently is no one authoritative theoretical statement available anywhere about what OT is, or ought to be. At least, any one theory that most OT practitioners say they're using as the explicit framework for their coaching and consulting.

Basic Questions 

So, right now, we're asking ourselves three basic questions: 

  • Is it possible that today organization transformation is an 'a-theoretical' field of practice?

  • Is it possible that there aren't any best-practice interventions to profile?

  • Is it possible that, without an authoritative conceptual model, there may be no best-practice interventions worth profiling?

We think this might be the case. 

If we're assessing the situation accurately, it would be presumptuous for us to highlight any one intervention as a best practice option.  Whether the intervention was one being implemented by a solo OT coach or consultant, or it was one being implemented by a major consulting firms, we believe there can't be best practice interventions to profile if no authoritative sense of agreement is available in the field about what OT is or should be.   

So, we're stepping back. We'll continue to think through the questions we're asking. They're too important to let them go. But, for now, we've decided not to profile any Best-Practice Interventions. Your observations, comments, and questions are welcome.