Q2 Impact’s Jennifer Dahnke talks about Organizational Development

Jennifer Dahnke, Deputy Director for Learning

Take a second and imagine your ideal work environment.


Maybe it’s really dynamic, colorful, and busy. Maybe it’s quiet and focused. I’m guessing that in any case, you feel effective and your work is having an impact. You probably have access to all the resources you need, when you need them. I bet there are processes and systems in place that allow you to get your job done well, but I hope they’re not too restrictive. Above all, you should be happy to be there. You’re able to learn. You appreciate your colleagues. You’re making a difference.

Are you working there now? If so, congratulations-please leave a comment below and let us know where and why. If not, don’t fear-there are steps you can take, whether you’re the leader of a large organization or a member of a small team.

At Q2 Impact, we address these issues through our Organizational Development (OD) practice which is focused on how an organization uses its resources to make better decisions, improve performance, change behavior, and manage adaptively. For us, OD is rooted in the best practices of Knowledge Management (KM) and involves systems, processes, and people or culture. The more mature an organization’s KM, the better equipped it is for effective OD.

What that means:

  • Resources exist and have been identified and collected. Pretty basic, but without this critical building block the rest is for naught.
  • Resources are managed in order to build a system or database that is organized and searchable. This might be a file structure, a library, or a spreadsheet. Whatever it looks like, it should allow everyone in your organization to access the resources they need intuitively and on-demand. How many times have you spent 30 minutes searching for a form that takes 5 minutes to complete? (Oh, just me?)
  • People more intentionally conduct analysis and bring their ideas and assessment into the process. With access to resources, and hopefully some data, you’ll undoubtedly talk with colleagues and partners about what it means and how it can be used. This is where formal Organizational Learning occurs and where big ideas come from.
  • Information and ideas are used for evidence-based decision making and performance improvement. After all, learning and big ideas are only so good as they are used.
  • People, processes, and systems are fully engaged to adapt and create change. Some people consider this a KM utopia but I promise you that it can exist and when it does, it’s a beautiful thing. This is the organization where we all want to work; where it feels easy and fun AND you’re making an impact.

So where do you start? Probably at the beginning. To help you better understand, Q2 Impact has created an OD Assessment tool called QIntrospect. By responding to 50 quick statements (like: Budgets and timelines are often exceeded. True or False?) you can determine which stage you’re in; how strong you are in process, culture, and systems; and what you need to do to move to the next stage.

Don’t think that you need a certain title in order to do this. It can start with your desk. Heck, it can start with your home. But that’s a whole other topic of conversation…

To know more about Q2 Impact’s Organizational Development practice area, visit the service page on our website or get in touch with Jennifer Dahnke.