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ATD Blog

4 OD Priorities for 2024

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

In my 2023 OD outlook, I advised talent and organization development professionals to embrace the spirit of the Lunar Year of the Rabbit: to slow down and reflect. In contrast, the Olympic motto—Citius, Altius, Fortius (Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger)—is apt for the ever-changing and increasingly chaotic environment organizations face in 2024, an Olympic year.

So how can talent and OD professionals help organizations navigate change and complexity this year? Leaning on the Olympic motto, we present four strategic priorities: responding faster to disruptive technologies, redesigning organizations for higher performance, making leaders’ change management competency stronger, and leveraging OD to create a better sense of purpose and inclusion.

1. Faster: I Respond Faster to Disruptive Technologies

“Leading the OD process can be a time-consuming and emotionally draining experience … You may constantly be pressured to speed up the process, quickly implement initiatives, or demonstrate immediate results.” —Ed Hasan, ATD’s Organization Development Handbook

The rise of ChatGPT and other stunning advances in artificial intelligence (AI) make this perhaps the most exciting (and fearful) period in tech ever. These technological advancements fuel digital transformation across industries, creating opportunities for talent and OD professionals tasked with helping organizations adapt to disruptive change. The challenge is colossal: we must help organizations respond faster in this new era of AI while staying disciplined and avoiding omission of any of the five phases of the OD process—entry, diagnosis, feedback, solution, and evaluation.

We need to lead by example: shortcuts won’t help, as the stakes are too high. As many great Olympians would tell you, “Success requires hard choices.” We must embrace a data-driven approach like never before, helping organizations develop agile and more responsive decision-making processes. It is also critical to help nurture adaptability in the workforce, helping employees cultivate digital literacy skills and retool their skill sets to thrive in the new normal.

I often tell talent and OD professionals, “Culture is everything.” This year, we should do all we can to support digital transformation, by managing culture risks that arise from a misalignment between transformation goals and employee values and behaviors.

2. Higher: I Redesign Organizations for Higher Performance

“Organization redesign is inevitable—half of organizations have gone through a redesign in the last two years and the other half expect to in the next two years … But fewer than a quarter of redesign efforts actually improve performance.” —McKinsey


I often advise my OD clients and students that an old-world organizational design will hinder efforts to improve business performance. Getting organizational redesign right requires rethinking traditional rigid corporate structures and, perhaps more importantly, ensuring an alignment between people, culture, structure, and processes.

One executive from a prominent organization recently contacted me about a high-stakes organizational redesign initiative they were implementing, with a new, flatter structure that eliminates several management layers and accelerates decision-making. As I advised him, redesign efforts must improve cross-functional collaboration, decision making, and organizational effectiveness—not just cost efficiency. In my experience, when organizations focus too much on the latter, redesign essentially becomes a job-cutting exercise and, in extreme cases, could lead to corporate anorexia.

Returning to my section in ATD’s Organization Development Handbook, please take the evaluation stage of OD seriously. After any redesign initiative, continuously monitor performance metrics, analyze the impact and effectiveness of your redesign efforts, and be ready to adapt if necessary.

3. Stronger: I Make Leaders’ Change Management Competency Stronger

“When we ask leaders what they think about when deciding how to go about any major organizational change, they often struggle to answer.” —Deborah Rowland et al., The Most Successful Approaches to Leading Organizational Change

Are your business leaders adequately equipped to lead and manage change in these disruptive times? In this era of complex and continuous change, organizations may no longer be able to afford to outsource change management to OD professionals and external consultants. As Rowland and colleagues explain in “The Most Successful Approaches to Leading Organizational Change,” business leaders need a lot of help to effectively manage the how (the particular way they will navigate change) and not just the what—for example, a new strategy or organizational structure.


Navigating change can be demanding and stressful. That’s why we must cultivate adaptive leadership skills to help make leaders more competent at anticipating changes, understanding their impact, and adapting strategies accordingly. Specifically, leaders need evidence-based frameworks, techniques, and toolkits to be (more) effective in engaging stakeholders, communicating change, and overcoming resistance to change initiatives.

As an emotional intelligence (EI) trainer, I often emphasize the importance of building leaders’ EI to help them acknowledge and process their emotions and those of their team members while navigating the uncertainties and stress that complex change often brings. Moreover, we also need to help leaders develop a resilient mindset by providing resilience and stress management training and promoting peer learning, so that they can handle work-related setbacks and stay focused on achieving long-term organizational goals.

4. Better: I Leverage OD to Create a Better Sense of Purpose and Inclusion

“Today’s workers want employment with purpose-driven organizations. This is especially true for millennials and Gen Zers, who will be 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.” —Britt Andreatta, “The Benefits of Becoming a Purpose-Driven Organization

The ultimate goal of going faster, higher, and stronger is to become better—“going for gold,” as Olympians would say. For many organizations, this essentially means improving financial performance. However, organizations must aim beyond profit maximization, as purpose and inclusion are essential factors for attracting and retaining talent and driving innovation.

Talent and OD professionals can help organizations achieve a purpose-driven culture. As Andreatta articulates in “The Benefits of Becoming a Purpose-Driven Organization,” this effort could involve designing work environments and experiences to enhance employee connections or equipping managers to facilitate purpose-oriented conversations with employees. Talent and OD professionals can also help to develop recognition programs that reward employees when their behaviors align with an organization’s purpose.

In the area of inclusion, we must prioritize building a culture of psychological safety, as my firm noted in a recent article on DEI trends and priorities for 2024. With the coordinated legal, political, and PR attacks on individual-level DEI practices such as affirmative action, we should now focus on eliminating organizational barriers to an equitable and inclusive workplace. The credo of the Olympic Games is that participation is the most important thing. Wouldn’t it be great if we all devoted more time and energy in 2024 to building inclusive organizations, where everyone is ready, willing, and able to participate?

About the Author

Dr. Ed Hasan is an author, speaker, coach, and professor. He is the founder and CEO of Kaizen Human Capital and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Additionally, he is a subject matter expert for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and Association for Talent Development (ATD) and serves as an IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility) practitioner for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). His expertise includes organization development, change management, and workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Dr. Ed was recognized as one of George Mason University’s Prominent Patriots in Business, exemplifying his engagement as a well-rounded scholar and a person prepared to act through innovation. He was a recipient of Georgetown University’s Outstanding Faculty Award, which recognized him as a consummate professor and a role model for inclusive excellence.

Dr. Ed received a doctoral degree in education from the University of Southern California, where his research focus was religious inclusion in the workplace. He received his MBA from the University of Scranton and a BS in Decision Sciences & Management Information Systems from George Mason University. He is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and a Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). He also holds the SHRM Inclusive Workplace Specialty Credential and the SHRM California Law HR Specialty Credential.

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