Why organisations must be ‘change ready’ for OD to succeed

By Dr Kathy Holmes-Bonney Chartered FCIPD, Associate Director of Corporate Affairs (OD & HR), NHS Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Organisational Development is much mentioned but little understood.

For me, it is an investment into the health and wellbeing of staff, by creating space for positive interactions and relationships, which enrich their collective experience.

Whilst training as a group analyst, I learnt about something called the group matrix. It is an unconscious place where individuals look for familiarity, patterns of relationships and sometimes reparation.

A colleague of mine, Morris Nitsun, referred to a concept of the anti-group where he believed the sum of all those people’s expectations in that unconscious place, could create or destroy the opportunity for positive interaction. We have heard about the Gestalt and the idea that a group is greater than the sum of its parts, but it interested me that this could be either creative or destructive depending on the individuals who come together at any particular time.

Organisational change is a far greater challenge in the environment where there are more negatives than positives; the opportunity for reparation is low, and instead individuals’ sense of opportunity for any positive or alternative outcome is extremely limited. Old patterns of behaviour are sought out and the organisation remains frozen in the past, unable to find the shared positive space for change to happen.

In organisations where individuals have a positive experience of being together, the opportunity for supportive change becomes much more available to the HR & OD manager expected to deliver the change. An organisation being ‘change ready’ is therefore crucial to the success of any change programme.

Join Dr Kathy Holmes-Bonney PhD at the Organisation Development Conference and Workshop, 11 – 12 October 2017, London.
Book before 17 August for early booking discount.

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  • after I read your article I was very interested and it was very helpful for me , I wait for your next other article ,thanks.


  • Really interesting post! Particularly found the concept of the destructive potential of synergy very interesting.