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Organizational Development Consulting Services

Organizational Development refers to strategies and initiatives that align, promote and encourage the improvement of a department so it can meet its mission, fully realize its potential and maximize its ability to make positive and lasting contributions to its constituencies and MSU.  The consulting process places equal focus on the development of the individual employee.

MSU Human Resources provides comprehensive organizational development consulting services to Michigan State University departments.

Consulting Services

Serving as internal consultants, the MSU Human Resources Organizational Development team has extensive experience working within MSU's mission and culture and has a thorough understanding of University policies and procedures, human resource systems and union contracts.  This expertise and insight leads to customized solutions that support MSU's mission and the department's business objectives in achieving a high performance culture.

Services provided cover a wide range of issues including the following challenges typically faced by managers:

Change Management

  • Define, plan and execute strategic organizational change, from both people and systems perspectives.
  • Manage organizational transformations including restructuring, hiring, layoffs, consolidations and acquisitions.
  • Align the department's initiatives with MSU's vision and mission.

Performance Management

  • Teach performance management strategies and processes, focusing on ways to handle performance challenges, setting clear expectations, and creating development plans.
  • Provide performance-based training and/or coaching to maximize contributions to the department.
  • Perform "gap analyses" by identifying current skills/abilities and future needs.
  • Develop strategies to close performance gaps.

Leadership Development

  • Coach individuals to improve their abilities to lead and manage.
  • Instill the value of innovative leadership within the department.
  • Teach conflict resolution skills to help leaders resolve and mediate conflict, as well as help leaders recognize the potential for conflict before it arises.

Climate/Culture/Interpersonal Relationships

  • Improve communication channels within the department for productive cooperation/teamwork and to build trust and respect.
  • Identify core values and establish interaction ground rules.
  • Counsel individuals regarding work place behaviors.
  • Lend a "third party perspective" to difficult problems.
  • Assess personal work styles and provide coaching on how to integrate all styles for a positive and productive work environment.
  • Develop methods for employee recognition to enhance feelings of self-worth and importance.

Organizational Structure/Work Processes/Job Design

  • Assess and refine the processes and methods of critical operations.
  • Analyze staffing needs and restructure positions, focusing on effective job matches and utilizing positions consistent with their classification and grade level, thereby leveraging human resources in the most cost-effective and efficient manner.
  • Examine, target, and redesign organizational processes to become more responsive and efficient.

Strategic Planning/Visioning

  • Facilitate the creation of a vision for the department's future mission.
  • Analyze the department's current state and help establish direction for the future.

Client Benefits

  • OD assessments provide departments with a clear and objective view of the current state of leadership, structure, processes, people and climate issues, often uncovering situations that inhibit complete success.
  • OD assessments reveal the perceptions of "what is."  This understanding, along with partnered discussion about future needs and opportunities, creates a sound base for meaningful strategic planning, visioning and/or mission definition.
  • OD activities reaffirm that our most important resource is people.  A talented and dedicated workforce is essential to reaching full potential.  By developing employees' skills and knowledge, departments realize gains in productivity and efficiency.  Improved employee competencies, coupled with a collaborative environment and strong leadership, produce desired goals.
  • Complementing the importance of people is a necessity for efficient organizational structures and processes and well-designed jobs.  OD assessments identify areas for improvement, while insuring connectivity to customer needs, department objectives and the University mission.

What to Expect

Every consulting intervention is unique.  Plans are carefully designed to meet a department's needs.  For example the following steps illustrate a common approach used successfully with University units:

The Consulting Process:

  1. Assessment of Issues - in confidential interviews with the consultants, staff have the opportunity to share their feelings and views about such areas as interpersonal relationships, effectiveness of communication, effectiveness of processes, skills and style of leadership, quality of physical environment, quality of tools and equipment, etc.  Each interview takes approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours.  All participants are asked the same questions.  Advanced preparation for these interviews is not needed and participants do not need to bring anything to the interview (except for their candid thoughts).
  2. Review and summary of findings - the consultants review interview forms together. Consistent themes and trends in the comments of interview participants are noted.
  3. Writing of report of findings and recommendations - based on interview comments, a report of findings and recommendations is written.
  4. Report to administrative group - the group or individual who originally requested the OD activity meets with the consultants to hear findings and recommendations.  A written report is provided to this group or individual.
  5. Report to entire group - the consultants meet with everyone in a group setting who participated in interviews.  Findings and recommendations are shared.
  6. Action planning - the consultants meet with the administrative group (and others if appropriate) to plan steps to address issues found during the assessment phase. 
  7. Conduct interventions to address issues. These activities may include:  staff retreats to establish or refocus mission, behavioral style assessments, conflict mediation training, skill building in a variety of areas, identification of core values and establishment of interactive ground rules, and individualized management coaching.  These activities are generally conducted over an extended period of time, with order based on priority of need.

Contact Us

If you are interested in discussing how the MSU Human Resources OD Consulting Group can help your department work more effectively to achieve your mission and goals, please call 517-355-0183 or email