I recently had the opportunity to speak with Rosemarie Philip of Philip Consulting, and I was so excited to learn about her business, who she serves, and what she does!

Rosemarie’s amazing talents are in the field of Organizational Development (OD), so she and I had a lot to talk about since my area of specialty (Learning and Development) is one small component of OD . I really enjoyed hearing her perspectives on OD, Change Management and Appreciative Inquiry.

This blog post is taken from a transcript of my interview  Rosemarie, it’s all from her perspective, and I hope you enjoy learning more about what she could do for your business. Click the image below if you prefer to watch the video interview, and let us know what you think!   



I (Rosemarie) believe in helping individuals and organizations discover how to be their best selves, to increase their effectiveness and health. I do this by getting to the root, and facilitating transformation from there. None of that quick fix, “band-aid” approach; more of the “how do we maximize what makes us so good”, and an honest look at our roadblocks.

I serve nonprofits as well as corporate companies that are going through major change transformations; whether that’s a CEO transition, it could be that a leadership team is coming together that is newly forming. It could be a particular project that the organization is going through. Or, maybe the nonprofit board is trying to figure out are we serving our community in the way that we want to be. We explore that path together.

So, anything dealing with change transformation, or really getting to the root of any real issues within an organization, is where my company comes into play. It’s amazing because it’s truly a partnership on the journey, and so what I always say is, “I give you the tools, and I provide the support, but it’s you who leads.” That is much more powerful, is much more impactful, and successful in getting your return on investment on whatever change that may be.

The beauty of it is I get to work with a variety of organizations and individuals as well, as they go through change transformations.


What exactly is organizational development?

I get that all the time. I mean, what is the difference between OD, as we call it, organization development, and change management? Because there is a difference. The real definition of OD, by Richard Beckhard is that it’s an effort that is planned, that it is organization-wide, that it’s managed from the top, that it increases organization effectiveness and health, and it’s done through planned interventions in the organization’s processes, using behavioral science knowledge.

OD is really looking at the entire picture; the whole organization. It’s looking at systems, processes, people, culture, politics and how they interplay to create the organization.

The real difference between organization development and change management is organization development is more of the strategic aspect, and looking at the big picture, and looking at the system as a whole, and change management really tackles the individual projects and is more of the tactical work. Change management, a lot of the time will be part of an OD plan. It’s kind of a subcategory, so to speak, of OD. Change management is focusing on the individual as well as the greater organization, how do they get through change. OD, is more strategy and science and a system approach, whereas change management is looking more at the individual, looking at the tactical, and how do you get people through that change.

How do you see learning and development and training fitting into this big picture?

I actually started in learning and leadership development. And so, what I found is any time I was creating a leadership program or training, we would have really phenomenal content, and we’d make a lot of stride in our effort in working with the people in those programs, and then we would measure, all right, did we sustain that behavior change 30 days out, 60 days out, 90 days out. I kept noticing that depending on the culture that they were going back into, and how supportive that culture was of that behavior change, really determined whether or not they’d really stick through. And despite all their efforts, if they didn’t have the support of a boss, if they didn’t have the environment around them, and the tools to continue that behavior change, it didn’t stick as well.

And so, learning and training is a huge piece of what I do, and especially in the change management realm, it’s very tactical, right?

It’s a crucial part of whatever strategy that you put forward, there’s always a learning component. I find most often it’s teaching them around what change management really is to begin with.

I am always partnering with learning folks such as (Learn to Flourish), to be able to better communicate whatever message I’m trying to get across, or to help build a competency around change, and understanding what that really means. And I think that came from my very beginning in instructional design and learning, and seeing the importance of it, and how crucial it is. But, it also has to have a culture and support system, and an infrastructure to support it, to make it as successful as it can be.

Is there such a thing as a company or an organization that’s just not ready for Organizational Development?

Really, any organization can use OD. It doesn’t matter how healthy an organization you have, you can always make it better, right? We always want to make it better, and learn and grow, and continue on that path. But, to your point, are they ready? And that is something that is a challenge that I face when I’m sitting down with a potential client. I try to be very honest with them, and very real around are you ready to actually go through the pain along with the glory, to roll up your sleeves and do the work with me?

Looking at the entire system, it’s going to uncover lots of things. But also some of the incredible beauty is going to come out of your organization as well. That’s what I love to tap into.

I really love appreciative inquiry. It’s solution oriented versus inventory focused, and capitalizes on what you are doing well while recognizing some of the pain too.

You really have to have an engaged leader in order to (incorporate OD), even if they don’t understand OD, but at least someone who’s bought into the concept and wants to support it, that is crucial. If you don’t have someone at the leadership level to support it, then it makes it a really frustrating effort for all parties.

It’s looking at how can you grow, how can you make sure you’re meeting your clients’ needs, so from a nonprofit perspective, it’s your client or the community that you’re serving. For a corporate company, it’s who’s your customer, who are your stakeholders, who are your investors, and who are you serving there. I love working with start-ups that are experiencing a massive amount of growth very quickly, especially if they’re bought into wanting to make that better, because it is overwhelming to see how do I take what was so good, and that’s why it expanded so quickly, and keep that alive, even though we’re now a larger company. So, those are really fun projects for sure.

The whole point of OD is to make sure there’s a real system. That’s why it’s a science. It’s a people science. Because it’s making sure it’s planned, that it’s not just quickly slapping a Band-Aid on something. It’s how do we make real change, real systemic change, so that we can flourish.

Are there any innovations coming out of the OD profession? Are there any new techniques or technologies that are kind of shaking things up?

You know, I think as a field, it’s actually making a lot of headway. It’s not necessarily from specific interventions or new research that’s come out. It’s actually educating the public on what OD really is and understanding it.

People are now recognizing that it is a huge need that … especially looking at change management, the tactical side, they’re recognizing that we can’t just slap change onto people, and then expect them to be able to take the brunt of it and just keep rolling through the punches so to speak. That’s not change management, right? And that does actually hit your bottom line when you do efforts like that.

So when you look at OD as a field, in itself, it’s innovative, and in itself, it’s very forward thinking and very strategic, and very system-focused, and structure-focused. I think that that, in itself, allowing that moment to take a step back and look at the whole picture, is where the innovation actually thrives. It’s by doing those assessments, and that it’s different every single time.

You may have some of the same issues across organizations, but because you have different people at play, it’s a totally new experience every single time, and that’s why I love the field so much.

It’s never boring.

The real true innovation is if you have a good partnership, as a consultant, if I have a good partnership with my stakeholders, then that is where the innovation really thrives.

It’s because I can give them the tools to change, but they’re the ones that have to be able to implement those tools, and make the change. When you’re using things like appreciative inquiry, or even Gestalt Theory, they are coming up with those ideas themselves. My tagline for Philip Consulting, is Facilitating Transformation. Because that’s more of the role that I take, I’m not shoving this on you or doing it for you.

I’m helping facilitate that change and transformation.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

The one I always stand by … Viktor Frankl is one of my absolute favorite … Man’s Search for Meaning is my favorite book of all time, and he has a quote:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we’re challenged to change ourselves.”

I think that’s something that’s really important to remember when I’m doing my work, because it’s not just about the organization changing, right? I’m changing along with it. I’m learning and growing along with my stakeholders, and so I think that’s something that’s important that we can sometimes get lost in the fact that we don’t have control over some of the changes that are coming upon us. So, what can we control? What can we focus on? What can we change? And a lot of that has to do with ourselves and our responses to it. So, I’d say that.

Again, I am so grateful to Rosemarie for taking the time to chat, and share her knowledge of Organizational Development!

To learn more, or to connect with Rosemarie Philip visit her website http://philipconsultingllc.com


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