Organizational and personal development: Personal review

What is the first thought come out in your mind when you find a job in an institution? It could be salary, job description, working partner, boss, or anything comes out spontaneously in your mind. Most of us do not pay much attention about the organization system built in our workplace. We simply consider it as an institution or a company, period. Furthermore, workplace is an environment of our daily activities as a worker. That makes us to be the important part of it, as we all grow together within it.

When entering a workplace, we must be joined into an organization and system applied there. As a part or of organization, we should learn more about its culture and how to blend and manage ourselves to be more adaptable in new environment. By the time organization is growing, we tend to be the change agent to follow the growth of the organization. That’s we call organization development. Cummings and Worley (2009) had summarized the definition of organization development from several important figures in this field:

  1. Organization development is a planned process of change in an organization’s culture through the utilization of behavioral science technology, research, and theory (Warner Burke)
  2. Organization development refers to a long-range effort to improve an organization’s problem solving capabilities and its ability to cope with changes in its external environment with the help of external or internal behavioral-scientist consultants, or change agents, as they are sometimes called. (Wendell French)
  3. Organization development is an effort (1) planned, (2) organization-wide, and (3) managed from the top, to (4) increase organization’s effectiveness and health through (5) planned interventions in the organization’s processes, using behavioral science knowledge (Richard Beckhard).
  4. Organization development is a system wide process of data collection, diagnosis, action planning, intervention, and evaluation aimed at (1) enhancing  congruence among organizational structure, process, strategy, people, and culture; (2) developing new and creative organizational solutions; and (3) developing the organization’s self renewing capacity. It occurs through the collaboration of organizational members working with a change agent using behavioral science theory, research, and technology (Michael Beer).
  5. Based on (1) a set of values, largely humanistic; (2) application of the behavioral sciences, and (3) open systems theory, organization development is a system-wide process of planned change aimed toward improving overall organization effectiveness by way of enhanced congruence of such key organization dimensions as external environment, mission, strategy, leadership, culture, structure, information, and reward systems, and work policies and procedures (Warner Burke and David Bradford).

From definitions of organization development explained above, I underline some key words, such as: well-planned, change, improvement, action research, organization’s effectiveness, and behavioral science/knowledge. In my own word, when we practice organization development in our organization (you may say workplace, institution, company, business place, etc.), we should make a well-prepared program involving all line and level of organization’s member, encourage them to be highly motivated agent of change who are willing to do the real action of improvements, to increase organization’s effectiveness, by using their capability in behavioral knowledge.

Well-prepared program must be determined from a long discussion and brainstorming activities from the organization’s member. As I read before, Kurt Lewin was the founding father of organization development concept in psychology. He also emphasized the ideas of group dynamics and action research within organization. Nowadays, those two ideas can’t be separated from organization development interventions. The smallest unit of organization is a group and a group includes several individuals with several personality characteristics, thoughts and ideas, aspirations and also knowledge. Even tough humanistic is the core values of organizations development, the individual differences is still being the roadblock to organization development practice.

Traditionally, organization development professionals have promoted a set of values under humanistic framework. Margulies and Raia (Anderson, 2012) articulated the humanistic values of organization development as follows:

  1. Providing opportunities for people to function as human beings rather than as resources in the productive process.
  2. Providing opportunities for each organization member, as well as for the organization itself, to develop to his full potential.
  3. Seeking to increase the effectiveness of the organization in terms of all of its goals.
  4. Attempting to create an environment in which it is possible to find exciting and challenging work.
  5. Providing opportunities for people in organizations to influence the way in which they relate to work, the organization, and the environment.
  6. Treating each human being as a person with a complex set of needs, all of which are important in his/her work and in his/her life.

The initiative for organization development programs comes from an organization that has a problem. This means that top management or someone authorized by top management is aware that a problem exists and has decided to seek help in solving it. There is a direct analogy here to the practice of psychotherapy: The client or patient must actively seek help in finding a solution to his problems. This indicates a willingness on the part of the client organization to accept help and assures the organization that management is actively concerned. The problem is when the top management find out problems but other member of the organization do not realize about it. If they do not realize, I believe there’s no willingness to do some efforts in solving the problems.

What can we do to realize what actually happen in our organization? Even tough top management or boss is providing us opportunities to actualize ourselves, if we do not realize the importance of it, it will not work out. In my word, internal motivation plays an important role for individual as a part of organization to giving his/her best to aim organization’s goals, beside the chance given to promote self actualization. Therefore, we need a synergy of the well-prepared and well-planned organization development programs with the needs of each organization’s member.

To fit the needs and maintain member’s internal motivation, I provide “the sense of belonging” concept. When people feel attached to their organization, they will do anything to achieve higher achievement and in the end, to achieve organization’s goal, generally. If individuals (as a part of group or team within organization) feel attached to their organization, they will automatically aware to the change possibly happens, weather it’s good or bad. If it turns bad then we call it as problem. Then, how to build member’s sense of belonging to organization?

Sense of belonging will be built if we love our job, have passions on it, and consider it as a life time achievement. To find out that a job is also our passion is not easy. We should understand ourselves well and that’s why the personal development takes an important role. Coaching and supervising are the most well-known strategy to do in personal development. But in my opinion, we can start knowing ourselves by writing our personal journal, take our time, be honest, and be reflective of what we write down there.

As I read from Wikipedia, personal development includes activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance quality of life, and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. The concept is not limited to self-help but includes formal and informal activities for developing others in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach or mentor. Furthermore, when personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations. At the level of the individual, personal development includes the following activities:

  1. Improving self awareness
  2. Improving self knowledge
  3. Building or renewing identity
  4. Developing strengths or talents
  5. Improving wealth
  6. Spiritual development
  7. Identifying or improving potentials
  8. Building employability or human capital
  9. Enhancing lifestyle or the quality of life
  10. Improving health
  11. Fulfilling aspirations
  12. Initiating a life enterprise or personal autonomy
  13. Defining and executing personal development plans
  14. Improving social abilities

The concept covers a wider field than self-development or self-help: personal development also includes developing other people. This may take place through roles such as those of a teacher/lecturer or mentor, either through a personal competency (such as the skill of certain managers in developing the potential of employees) or a professional service (such as providing training, assessment or coaching, deliberating knowledge at class). We grow as we help others grow. If we help others learn something we already knew, unconsciously we also get some new lesson learned from that process. But the big question is, are we realize it or not? That’s why, in my humble opinion, we should make a journal toward our personal development process.

Writing journal activity reminds me to Prof. Sugiyanto, my lecturer. He once said that it’s important to keep a personal journal. Journal is different from diary or note. If diary is written about external things happening surround us, journal will be about our internal process of everything happens, as much as we can take a lesson learned from. So, journal tends to record internal reflections and thought about what is going on in the internal world. In my case, I have a blog where I can write down my thoughts, feelings, ideas, achievements, etc. ( It may seem difficult to begin with it, however, given time it will be greatly enhance your life. I also write things on my Facebook note feature. Information technology through internet give us more chance to get connected with people and in my case, it helps me to get more feedback, so why don’t we use it in a good way?

The key benefit of keeping a personal development journal is that through doing so, we can monitor our internal processes over time. It can be used to integrate psychological parts within us that have long remained in conflict, for example, as we talk about in previous paragraph, about passions in life. For me, example, I realize that I found new passion in my life besides psychology. It’s wire working. I started creating accessories from beads in early 2006 when I began my undergraduate thesis. I need activities that help me releasing my tension in doing research and beading helps me a lot.

Beading activities need coordination of both left and right hands, require creative thoughts and imaginations, but keep you calm down because you do not need an excessive physical activities. Using left and right hand at the same time, I believe also help me balancing my left and right hemisphere usage. Moreover, doing beading activities also help me to do reflections in silence, closely to the concept of meditation. In 2010, when I had my first pregnancy, I figured out that I need to improve my skill in beading and in late 2011 I found interesting new activities called wire working, using wire from several kind of metal to create a jewelry, also known as wire wrapping.

Wire wrapping is one of the oldest techniques for making jewelry by hand. In wire wrapping, jewelry is made using jewelry wire and findings similar to wire (like head-pins) to make components. Wire components are then connected to one another using mechanical techniques with no soldering or heating of the wire. Frequently, in this approach, a wire is bent into a loop or other decorative shape and then the wire is wrapped around itself to finish the wire component making that loop or decorative shape permanent. Because of this technique for wrapping wire around itself this craft is called wire wrapping. What I usually wrap is gemstones, shell, and pearls. Sounds interesting?

There are several reasons I interested in this field. After I got pregnant, I found it difficult for me to mobile, because I was living in a strange new place (I followed my husband to a new city I’ve never lived before) and there are no one I knew live there. In conclusion, I have to adapt with kind of alienation, being far from my family, friends, and my other pleasure sources. I was graduated from Magister Profesi at early 2010 with 3.90 GPA score, got married, followed my husband to new city, got pregnant, completely be stay-at-home wife. It’s kind of repressing moment in my life when I think that my lecturer will feel ashamed on me, my college friends will laugh at me, my family will feel pity on me because of my jobless status. That’s why I have to push my self to the limit and find out the way to actualize my self and reach my own achievement. I started to build networking with jewelry designer worldwide using Facebook and blogging site, get as much as possible valuable lessons from them and create real jewelry in my real life.

I founded my Facebook page ( in August 2011, officially made an offer of my jewelry and announced it to people that I’m not jobless. After I gave birth, I focused on wire working until now, when my son is 18 months old. Unpredicted and unplanned situation push me to take quick decision and take huge step in my life. Before this, I am a person who afraid of change. My life is simply plain and I tend to avoid risky behavior. I was strict and orderly person, who work based on plan. But life told me that we must be flexible, because there will always be surprises God bring to our life, things we never expected before. In my case, flexibility helps me manage my emotional states and also brings me to the higher level of self control.

I now enjoy a life that is both challenging and fulfilling. I get to meet and work with some of the most incredible people, run my own business, and hopefully can return to my formal education as university lecturer in Psychology Faculty of Gadjah Mada University. Folks say that a labors work with his/her hand, craftsmen work with his/her hand and head, and an artist work with his/her hand, head, and also heart. So I proudly present my self as an artist and also a clinical psychologist, different field of work but have similar values that require working with hand, head and heart at the same time.

Back to personal development strategy, I think coaching works because it draws out best from the person being coached. The coach’s role is to ask the right questions, to encourage, to support, to challenge, to point out inconsistencies, and to champion the success of the person being coached. But I also found its weakness due to financial effort to hire professional coach and the availability of professional personal coach in Indonesia. So I present other choice as personal development strategy by writing journals and supervising. We can ask reflective questions to ourselves.

Since success is very personal, I believe that we can’t compare our success with other people’s success. I mean that success plan suppose to rely on what we value and believe about our own personal circumstances, opportunities, and current life experiences. In my case, I consider my experiences being full-time-work-at-home mom is my mini success story. I extend my breast feeding period, not giving formula milk to my son and  train him to have toilet training as soon as we can start (I start it when he was 6 month old and never wore him disposable diaper). I do multitasking activity by continuing my beading activity while babysitting him, and not hiring a helper. I should make a choice before this, working outside home or working at home. Both choices have their own positive and negative effect. I should not focusing on the obstacles (the negative), but focusing on the question of what can I do to maximize my potentials to reach the better outcomes. By thinking like this, I feel proud of my self for every little thing I succeed and generally, it makes me being more positive person than ever. I believe there are 6 steps to plan success, by asking these following questions to ourselves, I generated this from the concept of narrative therapy I used for my postgraduate thesis:

  1. What do you want? Write down as much as possible details of your goals from the picture in your head (well, I usually do imagery) and please be specific of what you write there. It helps you to affirm yourself that this is what you really want in your life.
  2. When you already have specific goal and make sure that this is what you really want, and then set the time when you want this become realistic. How long this will take? What will be the evidence when you are making a progress? What would you see, hear, and feel that will prove that you are on the right track and heading towards your goal?
  3. Now, ask yourself, what resources do I need to achieve this goal? You better ask people surround you to give second opinions. Please write it down, make it as clearly as possible, so you know your weakness and strength. You build support team also, from people surround you.
  4. Can you plan a strategy to get things done? Remember to ask feedback and be objective with it.
  5. Can you start the action now? Take the action, take the first step. There are no such things as a failure, there is only feedback. Feedback may be good, maybe bad. The result of our action can sometime different from what we want. Listen to the feedback while changing your approach. It’s not the goal we’re changing but the approach to aim the goal is being changed.
  6. Continually notice the feedback and mini successes that come your way. You must appreciate your self for doing action. As you progress, take a moment and step back, has all this activity generated anything positive? Remember that as soon as you begin to change, others begin to notice. External forces will often try to hold you back.

If every individuals in organizations doing these steps, the better they will be. And I believe it’s also enhancing the effectiveness of organization. Setting goals often related with self actualization.

Maslow is unquestionably the central figure in the connection between organization development and humanistic psychology. His theory of hierarchy of needs, motivation, creativity, and self actualization continue to be influential. In my opinion, this is the cause of why we, as a member of organization, have to improve ourselves by doing personal development, both to fulfill our motivation to get actualized and to aim organization’s goal.  In the red line to organization development in Psychology Faculty, I think it’s quite necessary to put personal development in agenda for organization development intervention, by thinking that everyone’s success is the key to organization’s success.

So, what is my contribution to this process of organization development in Psychology Faculty? Based on my skill and knowledge in behavior science, I can provide a program as intervention program of organization development, if I’m asked to. Since organization development also defines action research as its main part, before started to arrange program, I must do needs assessment. Interventions range from those designed to improve the effectiveness of individuals through those designed to deal with teams and groups, intergroup relations, and the total organization. There are interventions that focus on task issues (what people do), and those that focus on process issues (how people go about doing it). Needs assessments help us to find out the perfect strategy to overcome the specific organization’s problem. I note that it’s better to work in a team/group rather than alone.

Well, that will be my grand contribution though. But before that, the smallest thing I can offer to the Faculty is the genuine me, with all my learning process building positive change in my personal development agenda and hopefully can positively affected people surrounds me to do it as well. I believe that every single small change is count.


  1. Anderson, D. L. (2012). Organization development: the process of leading organizational change, 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.Cummings, T. G. &Worley, C. G. (2009) Organization Development and Change 2nd edition. Mason Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
  2. Cummings, T. G. &Worley, C. G. (2009) Organization Development and Change 2nd edition. Mason Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
  3. Scheineder, K. J., Bugental, J. F. T., & Pierson, J. F. (eds). (2001). The Handbook of humanistic psychology: Leading edges in theory, research, and practice. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, Inc.

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