Step 6 – OD Specialisms
In some ways, Step 6 of the OD app, while vitally important to OD mastery, is secondary to the preceding steps. This is because Steps 1 through 5 concern competences that are, as the name implies, foundational to the practice of OD.
With Step 6 the focus shifts to OD specialisms. As noted previously, the specialisms are not in place of the foundational competences, but are rather built on top of them. Moreover, they are not in any way static. Over time, new OD specialisms will emerge as the work of OD continues to evolve and change. Certainly, the specialisms described in this app are not intended to be an exhaustive list. Rather it is anticipated that more specialisms may be added to the app over time.
Each OD specialism described in the app has been written by an individual OD contributor who has found their home in that particular specialism. Each description is thus distinct, with each contributor sharing in general how they personally got to that specialism, defining what that specialism is about, and explicitly or implicitly noting what they believe are the competences relevant to that specialism.
It of course stands to reason that, of all the OD specialisms described in the app, very few OD practitioners ever become masters of more than three or four at most, based on their interests, motivation, opportunities and the demands of their professional roles.
(It is possible that you are interested in an OD specialism that is not currently a part of those listed in the app. If that is the case, you can make note of it in the Step 7 feedback form at the end of the app.)
There are three parts to this Step 6 process:
Part I: Consider which specialisms are important to your OD aspirational goal
With your personal development plan from the foundational competences in mind, the Step 6 invitation is to identify which specialisms are important for you at this juncture of your career and professional development. Given your OD professional aspirations, what areas of specialism will stretch you towards your OD mastery? Whether the specialism is new and unfamiliar to you, or well-known and already part of your OD practice, the intention is to help you gain greater clarity around your own professional OD journey.
From the specialism descriptions below, you can indicate which of the specialisms you judge to be important for your OD professional goals by clicking on that specialism. When you click on a specialism, it will be highlighted and automatically added to a table generated below the list of specialisms. Limiting your choice to not more than two or three specialisms is recommended. You can always go back to the list and change or add to your selection. (And it is not necessary that you choose any. Again, you can always go back to the list and change your selection.)
For each specialism that you identify as being important for your OD practice, a text box will be generated beneath the list of specialisms, in which you are invited to capture your thinking about that specialism—why it is important to you and anything else you wish to capture relative to that specialism and your OD practice.
Part II: Extract relevant competences and standards from each specialism you have selected
Having captured some of your thinking around the specialisms you selected, you are invited to review those specialisms, this time paying particular attention to any OD competences that the contributors consider important for the effective practice of that specialism. (It may be helpful to review the 11 Foundational Competences from Step 3.)
The specialisms that you selected in Part I will be listed below. Clicking on one will take you back to the description of that specialism. This makes it easy to review your chosen specialisms, teasing out the competences relevant to that specialism. Moreover, when you return to any specialism you have selected, at the bottom of its description there will now appear a copy of the text box generated in Part I above, plus space for capturing competences you see as particularly connected to that specialism. As always, this is an iterative process, subject always to revising and adjusting.
Choose the OD Specialisms above in order to be able to complete Part 2
The list of specialisms is only visible if there are selected specialisms in Part 1.
Part III: Revisiting your personal development plan
Once you have worked through Parts I and II of Step 6, thinking about OD specialisms that are important to you and their associated competences, you may find it helpful to return to your personal development plan from Step 5, making adjustments and adding appropriate developmental items into your plan. Doing this will not be an exact science, but rather a creative commitment to expanding your OD mastery by identifying specialism areas that you choose to learn, strengthen, and expand.
Note that at any point as you work on Step 6, you can save and download your work as a pdf for printing and offline review, along with any pdf documents from the preceding steps.
Finally, as noted all along the way, every step in the OD app is iterative. You can always go back to revisit, reconsider, and revise your thinking and your plans. Indeed, you are encouraged to do so. Mastery as an OD professional is always a work in progress. There is always more to learn. It really is life-long learning.