In this section, we want to feature Organization Transformation (OT) practitioners who are doing cutting edge work.
However, for the last several months, we've been searching online and offline, reading OT adds, case studies, books, and articles, and talking with colleagues looking for OT coaches, consultants, and consulting firms who we could profile as leading practitioners. We, in fact, discovered a number of practitioners who seem to be doing good organization transformation work. But, from where we're sitting, it looks to us like these practitioners were doing good work, but were doing it without offering clearly articulated theoretical frameworks that backed up what they were doing. Strangely, they didn't seem to be offering any sort of public statement about the conceptual frameworks that explained what they believe organization transformation is, or should be, or why the interventions they were trying to implement in their target organizations would create the transformational results they were pursuing.
As we've said elsewhere in TLO's OT Resource Center (Best-Practice Interventions), we've spent the last several months looking hard for anything that resembles a comprehensive organization transformation theory that unifies the field and, most importantly, matches up this theory with the OT interventions that promise they'll create appropriate results. Surprisingly, our research suggests there currently isn't one authoritative theoretical framework around that defines what OT is, or ought to be. There isn't even one theory publicly available that most OT practitioners are using as the conceptual backdrop for their coaching and consulting.
Given this, we're wondering: Is it possible that today OT is an 'a-theoretical' arena?
A couple of OT colleagues we talked to about all this while we were searching for leading practitioners to profile essentially shrugged their shoulders and blithely asked us, "So?" In response to the incredulous look we gave them, they said, "Isn't this a-theoretical-ness good? Isn't the absence of agreement on a unified theory of organization transformation freeing a good thing? Doesn't it spark confusion? Doesn’t it drive competition and creativity? If you're looking for OT business, don't you have to have some kind of competitive edge, a difference between you and all the other OT consultants and firms?"
The conversations that ensued were really interesting. Opinion altering in a number of useful ways. But, they also led us to the following propositions:
Currently, there really isn't one universally authoritative theoretical statement available that defines, in a comprehensive way, what an organizational transformation is, or should be.
The established academicians and practitioners currently working in this field clearly aren't in agreement about what organization transformation is, or should be.
There's doesn't appear to be any one individual, or group of individuals "out there," who are assiduously working to pull together a comprehensive theory of organization transformation that will unify the field.
There isn't one source in the organization transformation field who's legitimate enough to authoritatively define for everyone the pivotal elements of an organization transformation, or the dynamic processes that catalyze, guide, and drive it as a system-wide change effort.
Given these conclusions are fair, we're left wondering whether it's also reasonable to conclude that there simply aren't any OT coaches, consultants, or consulting firms available to profile as leading practitioners. Without universally authoritative theories, frameworks, and conceptual models, can there really be leading practitioners? Isn’t it presumptuous for TLO to profile any one individual coach or consultant currently working in this field, or even any one consulting firm, as a Leading Practitioner in the field of organization transformation if there isn't an single authoritative statement in the field about what OT is?
OT Thought Leadership
Consequently, instead of profiling leading OT practitioners in this section, we've decided to feature coaches, consultants and consulting firms that, from TLO's perspective, are acting as OT thought leaders in and for the field.
This is the definition of an Organization Transformation Thought Leader that we're going to use to help us select those whom we feature:
"For TLO, a Thought Leader is an individual or an organization that's extraordinarily well experienced in the Organization Transformation arena. Beyond this, an OT Thought Leader, for TLO, must be an individual or an organization that is proficient in sharing their experience and their expertise in ways that encourage those who are "listening" to seriously contemplate what's being offered, Legitimate Thought Leader are persuasive enough to prompt those listening to consider the personal and/or professional value of what’s being shared. When the occasion calls for it, a leading edge OT Thought Leader is also adept at championing what they know about the newest ideas, insights, and discoveries currently emerging in the organization transformation field. Basically, for TLO, a coach or consultant, or a consulting firm that deserves to be identified as a Leading Edge OT Thought Leader will be someone or some firm who's experienced, wise, and persuasive. They are what’s known today, in the best sense of these words, as an 'Idea Entrepreneur.'"
TLO's OT idea entrepreneurs
With this definition in mind, we've decided to profile three consulting firms that, in our opinion, are clearly demonstrating that it's possible, even in the absence of a unifying theory, to be an effective Organization Transformation Thought Leader.
The three firms we've decided to profile are McKinsey’s Recovery & Transformation Services, BCG Transformation, and Bain & Company. There's no way that here, in this Leading Practitioner section, we can offer a complete picture of the transformational services these three consulting firms provide. So, we're going to be content with offering you a small sample of their best OT Thought Leadership efforts. Four articles from each firm.