Organization development can benefit human development

Organization development

How can we improve human race relations? Businesses have organization development (OD) to improve relationships and performance within organizations. If the general human population placed as much emphasis and resources as businesses do on achieving organization development goals, human development would take giant leaps forward. Humankind would benefit and prosper.

How wonderful would it be for humankind to achieve OD goals? I have rewritten generally accepted organization development goals and replaced two words. I changed the word “employees” to humans and “organization” to humankind. Let’s have a look.

1. To increase the level of inter-personal trust among humans.
2. To increase humans’ level of satisfaction and commitment. (Commitment is in reference to the organization’s mission and values. Here it implies commitment to the greater human good—posterity).
3. To confront problems instead of neglecting them.
4. To effectively manage conflict.
5. To increase cooperation and collaboration among humans.
6. To increase humankind’s problem solving ability.
7. To put in place processes that will help improve the ongoing operation of humankind on a continuous basis.

Imagine what humankind could accomplish by achieving these organization development goals!

How committed are we  as a race to achieve these goals? Look closely at each goal and think globally about where we stand today. What comes to mind? It becomes quite clear that organization development specialists should be in high demand worldwide!

I name the process of achieving these human development goals as “humanship”. You can read more about it in my blogpost titled, “Relationships: How the word undermines itself”. According to the OD objectives, whether in business or in society, development is impeded by: mistrust, dissatisfaction (with the ability to fulfill basic needs), lack of commitment towards a shared goal, avoiding problems or making them worse, and a lack of supports, models, and incentives to continue developing.

Looking at the world today, conflict is front and center. Why do we struggle as humans to collectively achieve goals 1-7? What is getting in the way of human development? The answer: We mistakingly apply the business development model—profit and growth—to the human development model. Herein lies the problem.

Businesses (as a private entity) achieve profit and growth when other businesses are not as successful in achieving their goals. Humans (as a collective entity) do not profit and grow when other humans are not successful in achieving their goals.  On the contrary, this is when conflict arises. Unfortunately, to the detriment of our collective well-being, we have primarily adopted the business model of growth and profit for our own development .

The prevalence of consumerism preached daily through media and advertisement has brainwashed us into believing that humans develop like businesses: by building capital (growing materialistically) and profiting financially. This works for business development, but not for humans. Human development works when we think collectively, not privately as businesses do.

Organization development goals can and should be human development goals. If OD goals can be improved in the workplace they can also be improved in society. In order for this to happen, the terms growth and profit must be redefined for human development.

Human development must view growth and profit as a collective benefit. Businesses grow and profit by monopolizing resources and taking away sales from competitors. Humans grow and profit by sharing resources and giving to others by not seeing them as adversaries.

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