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Career Story: Organization Development Consultant

Organization Development Consultant

Job Title: Organization Development Consultant

Type of Company: I work for a health care delivery system based in Oakland, CA. The company provides health insurance, runs hospitals and collaborates with the largest medical group in the U.S.

Education: BA, Psychology, Azusa Pacific University •• Ph.D, Organizational Psychology, Alliant University

Previous Experience: I started as an intern at a health care company, then was hired as a full-time consultant. From there I took jobs as an internal organization development consultant for different industries. My last job was in New York for an external strategy and change consulting firm.

Job Tasks: As an organization development consultant, my role focuses on a these areas: 1. Coaching executives to achieve the business results they outline. I do this by meeting with leaders, identifying their goals and co-developing a plan to help the leader achieve their goals. 2. Team building for new and existing teams who want to learn how to be better leaders, work together better and/or achieve a higher level of outcomes. Usually I will talk to the leader of the team first to establish objectives, then I will conduct interviews with the team. Once I analyze the data from the interviews, I will write a report to summarize the themes for the leader. Then I meet with the team together to tell them the themes, and develop a plan to address the needs identified. Often times I will facilitate an off-site to kick the plan off. 3. Assisting leaders to lead others through change. For example, if there is a new initiative at the company, I help the leaders think through the people side of the change, and what may be required to help those impact by the change understand why the change is happening, what to expect and the steps required to get there. I help the leaders think through communication and engagement plans of those involved. 4. Leadership development to build the management and leadership skills of leaders in the company. This can be individual coaching, or group level training and education about communication, coaching, managing change, performance management or other skill building area.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is collaborating with my clients to contribute to their success. It's great to be a part of making someone's vision and idea a reality for them and their team.

The worst part is that there are times when politics or personality get in the way of the right thing being done. After all, even senior leaders are human!

Job Tips:
1.) If you are not a people-person, you won't enjoy this work! It's all about collaborating and working with others.

2.) Internships are a great way to "earn your stripes" and get a supervised, fundamental understanding of organization development.

3.) It is important to have an advanced degree (Master's or Ph.D.) in this field.

4.) Find a mentor who will help you.

Additional Thoughts: Personal qualities for success include self-awareness; ability to think about a whole system, not just its parts; interpersonal skills; research (quantitative and qualitative) skills; collaborative; willingness to speak up and put yourself out there; facilitation skills and coaching skills.

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