Based on the information given in the case the OD consultant did not prepare for the meeting as he should have. He had no in depth knowledge of Kenworth Motors, its operations and even less of Mr. Robert Denton (the plant manager). In addition of having no knowledge of this potential new customer, the consultant relied on his experience and recommendation of an existing client who interacted with Mr. Denton in a non-professional environment. During their brief telephone conversation, Denton identify himself as being the manager of Kenworth Motors, and how he was interested in having a meeting with the OD Consultant. In the case it is noted that the consultant didn’t give the conversation much attention, because the consultant could not recall what was the statement that allow the gentlemen to set a date for the meeting.
The OD consultant should have been more prepared and informed on the history of Kenworth Motors. Research and investigation could have been done that would maybe enlighten the consultant of its current situation, and where the company would like to be. The information acquired would have assisted the consultant in identifying and problems or situations that the company may have.
The OD consultant was able to encourage Mr. Denton to speak of Kenworth Motors, his plant, and of production. Mr. Denton enthusiastically spoke of the company’s operations, production, equipment and as well as Denton’s relocation and background, among other topics as well. This conversation was effective for the consultant in order to obtain the information, that wasn’t previously researched. Although, the conversation did permit the OD consultant to get a insight of how were operations, what it did not provide was a clear form to identify what was the problem or situation that the company needed to address. Both gentlemen got along quite well, which enabled the conversation to progress attentively.
Mr. Denton had mentioned to the consultant that he sensed that something wasn’t quite right at the plant, but couldn’t narrow it down to a particular item or situation. Even though, the consultant inquired about many different departments, he was still unsuccessful determining what areas were problematic. Cummings mentions that effective interventions are based on valid information of the organization; they provide clear and informed choices, and commitment (Cummings, 2009). This is noticeable when the consultant offers to interview some of the managers, and staff as a way to gather a sense of the employees and how they see operations flow.
The consultant mentions to Mr. Denton that the approach could create tensions among the employees were they didn’t exist. This might force the manager to make a commitment whatever the results of the inquiry may be. This action done by the consultant reflects what the goal of a consultant should be. Ray and Goppelt, stated that the goal of a practitioner/ consultant should be to create a greater impact and better decision making within the client’s organization (Ray and Goppelt, 2011).
The OD consultant could have also inquired what were the specific goals for each department, if they had a mission statement and how was that statement being integrated into the operations of the company.
Ray and Gopplet summarize their findings by stating that practitioners are more observers than interveners. They can in no way guarantee the outcome will be as planned (Ray and Goppelt, 2011). When Mr. Denton is cautious about how the assessment will be done and inquires about alternate methods for his investigation. The consultant provides Mr. Denton with the idea of the retreat as a method to explore how things are really functioning with the company. The idea of a retreat is innovative and will allow the consultant to develop methods to identify any serious issues that might emerge. In a study done by Freedman, he states that notes that organizations should develop new approaches to cope with unfamiliar problems (Freedman, 2011).
The OD consultant gave a general outline of the retreat idea. The consultant explained that the retreat should be done during the weekend (in order not to affect productivity) and that Kenworth should cover all expenses in order to demonstrate commitment to the event. The OD consultant doesn’t have yet a specific work plan but will be addressing the issues that Mr. Denton is worried about mainly teamwork. Both gentlemen were able to set a date, agreed on a name for the retreat. It would be labeled as “Communication Workshop”, as well as the fee that would be charged.
Pandey and Sahrma stated in their journal that organizations use different techniques for its improvements, and that the leader’s role is to establish credibility within the organization (Pandey and Sahrma, 2011). By the company having the retreat at a different location away from usual office environment, as well has paying for the retreat, employees will be more open to work with each other and with the consultant. The idea of being away from the usual work environment should enable the managers to be more relaxed, and willing to cooperate.
The OD Consultant mentions and asks Mr. Denton to trust him on the actual planning of the events. In my opinion this is until the consultant interacts with each department manager it would be hard to identify and have clear knowledge of what issues will need to be addressed. Mr. Denton came in contact with the consultant by means of a referral from another, without any previous knowledge of how the consultant performs, only by the word of Mr. Charles Wright.
Overall the OD consultant was able to find a manner in which it can offer some guidance or problem solving solution to the situation that was presented by Mr. Robert Denton. The case does not explain or offer any details as to what were the results of the retreat, or if the presence of the consultant had any type of effect on the results.
Courtney from Study Moose
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