A True Test Of Successful Organizational Development

It mostly comes down to opportunities for growth.

Ted Bauer
5 min readJun 1


Organizational development suffers from the same core business problem as many things — it’s hard to measure. Here’s the basic deal with many jobs: even though senior leaders usually aren’t very good at analyzing data in the context of decision-making, they nonetheless still believe that the only things deserving of their attention are measurable things. This comes from an all-consuming focus by many top dogs on financial metrics — which can be measured and neatly arranged in spreadsheets, yes — and causes concepts like employee engagement (harder to measure) to fall by the wayside (same with “talent strategy”).

Organizational development falls into this camp. It’s one of those things that you kinda maybe sorta know or think is important, but you don’t really have time to focus on it because you gotta spend all your time focusing on making money instead, and/or sitting in meetings and hopping on calls to chase a new revenue play. That’s organizational development, right? Making money? Growth?

Not exactly. There are actually about 2 billion ways to think of organizational development, and 94% of all articles written about it will no doubt contain at least 17 instances of one of these buzzwords:

  • Culture
  • Transparency
  • Mission
  • Vision

In reality, there’s one logical and effective way to look at organizational development and see how successful it is.

Organizational development and internal movement

No one really understands how promotions work at most jobs — or what they’re based on, honestly — but the sheer fact of the matter is that whenever we run around bellowing about ‘the future of work,’ all we’re actually discussing is two things:

We bake all that into 347 different generalizations about millennials — most of which aren’t even true — and a host of other bullshit, but effective work (and thus, effective organizational development) typically comes down to…



Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.