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ATD Blog

The Intersection of TD and OD

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Trusted advisor, thoughtful program designer, DEI champion, innovator, culture builder: These are among the many hats talent development professionals must wear to successfully contribute to their organizations and effectively develop those running their organizations. An L&D professional’s role no longer exists in a silo. Now more than ever, these professionals must prove the value of their contributions to their business, demonstrating impact that furthers effectiveness and performance within their organizations.

To contribute to their organizations at this higher, more robust level, L&D professionals need to understand the knowledge and skills of the organization development (OD) profession. They must integrate their work into the organization’s larger culture and business operations. That means talent development (TD) professionals—from instructional designers to coaches—must further their understanding of change management; business alignment; professional development; employee engagement; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and succession planning, to name a few OD areas. This knowledge does not sit uniquely within human resources but overlaps with much of the work of L&D and TD professionals. The more fluent TD professionals become in these areas, the better they will support their organization’s goals. More L&D professionals are being asked to take on this work because of the common interests and expertise L&D and OD professionals share and how they intersect.

What’s beautiful about this intersection is that TD professionals can use their knowledge and skills to even greater effect when they apply the systems-oriented mindset that defines OD. Yes, this means moving away from a focus on one-off training programs, which don’t deliver the lasting value TD professionals intend, and aligning themselves and their work with broader organizational strategies and processes.


This intersection has never been more important to TD professionals’ careers and the future of their organizations and employees. When budgets are tight, organizations often consider cutting training budgets. They can be perceived as additional costs for an organization to incur when times are flush. Yet, organizations depend on effective training to ensure professionals stay skilled and productive. Without training and learning, what happens to an organization’s ability to move through change, plan for the future, hire and retain top talent, remain productive, and stay on the cutting edge of its industry?

Interest in these facets of organizational health continues to grow, as shown by the outpouring of session submissions for ATD’s 2023 OrgDev Conference. featuring contributors from ATD’s upcoming OD Handbook and speakers from various backgrounds and organizations. ATD continues to develop resources that TD and OD learning professionals need to do their jobs effectively. Whether you’re helping your company’s TD and OD teams work together or introducing OD ideology into your TD programs, you can find guidance from ATD on navigating OD from an L&D lens. The latest handbook featuring in-house experts and consultants from the field and the OrgDev conference helps L&D professionals apply OD foundations to their everyday work.

About the Author

Mallory Flynn is the content manager for the career development, organization development, and talent management communities and the ATD Job Bank administrator at the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Before joining ATD, Mallory worked in public relations and content management for 10+ years. As a member of the media affairs team at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), she created content and promoted SHRM’s work by liaising closely with journalists from outlets like the New York Times, NBC, Bloomberg, the Economist, and USA Today. She grew up in North Carolina and is an alumna of North Carolina State University. She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her 12-year-old dachshund mix, Dash. Follow her on LinkedIn: Mallory Flynn | LinkedIn.

1 Comment
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I believe that for L&D to be strategic, which is supposed to be, it needs to stand on a solid understanding and application of OD.
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