Alan Landers, President &CEO
Back in the 1850s settlers from East of the Mississippi River headed West on a hunt for ‘All the Gold in California.’ They would traverse untamed and treacherous terrains though the territories and domains of indigenous American Indians. It soon became apparent that their journey across the continent would be far more challenging than they thought. They stopped at towns on trailheads where there were ‘outfitters’ who provided them with maps, wagons, oxen, horses, and guns, and taught them the skills they would need to survive the arduous journey to the California goldfields. Some outfitters led the settlers a few miles down the trail, only to point them to a landmark and leave to complete the journey on their own.After all, it was the ‘49ers’ journey, not the outfitters.
This image and spirit shaped the mission and vision of the OD & Change Leadership Group or ODCL—a premier consulting firmthat started in 1989 and isheadquartered in San Diego. The firm now has locations in 11 cities across the U.S. and international partners in five countries. ODCL and its team of senior consultants see themselves as “organization outfitters.” They empower their clients by providing them with the knowledge, tools, and resources they need to complete their journeys toward improved productivity, increased effectiveness, process improvement, and more, independently.
“Our consulting interventions are designed to transfer our knowledge and skill to our clients. Unlike other firms who seek to expand and continue their involvement in client organizations, ODCL leverages our industry knowledge and collective experience to build expertise and internal expertise of our clients. We don’t want to be eternal consultants,” explains Alan Landers, president and CEO of ODCL.
This model and process has been successful for the firm for over three decades. Many of the firm’s clients are Fortune 500s spanning several industry verticals, but they also work with universities, utilities, nonprofits, and government agencies. Like any good outfitter, ODCL learns what their clients want to accomplish, what their current capabilities are, and then applies their considerable experience and acumen toward enhancing the existing strengths, competencies, and agility of their clients.
But what makes the OD & Change Leadership group a worthy recipient of a “Top Ten Change Management Firm” is their unique role as a ‘consultant incubator’. According to Landers, just like ‘business incubators’ who act as ‘launching pads’ for businessesto nurture and guide them from startup to independence, ODCL acts as a ‘consultant incubator’ for new and aspiring consultants in search of success. ODCL is a team-based organization.
We provide all the knowledge to the clients, prepare them for probable obstacles on the way, and let them take over and pursue their goals in their own way
Senior consultants lead product development teams through the firm’s proprietary “Concept-to-Consulting” model which prepares and equips them with insights, tools, and a proven process for becoming successful consultants.
One example of the success of that model is the global Certificate Program in OD and Change Leadership offered in partnership with the Peter Drucker Graduate School of Management. The DGS Team spent one year identifying the core competencies of successful change agents. Then, they designed a highly engagingworkshop supported by online simulations, case studies, and experiential learning activities to teach those competencies. The first cohort was conducted in-person, then COVID hit.Aligning with the new needs brought about by the pandemic, the certificate program has been modified to make it entirely online and retain its highly interactive nature.
The Exclusive Edge
One of the distinctions that separates ODCL from other consultancies is the opportunity it affords graduate students seeking internships in the fields of organization development and industrial-organizational psychology. Interns with ODCL are placed on product-development teams and take active roles in developing original concepts, models, tools, and workshops. They are not simply researchers or administrators. They assume positions where their ideas and contributions are vital to the success of their teams. This “hands-on” experience in the “business side of consulting” is unique and adds to their capabilities as well as the firm’s.
Given the prowess of ODCL’s teams andtheir groundbreaking consultations designed to drive meaningful organizational change, it goes without saying that there are many success stories in their history. Among recent clients, Landers highlights an ongoing project with a national mortgage company from Reston, Virginia, that is looking to double the size of its sales force. They contracted with ODCL to build a national recruiting program that attracts graduating college seniors and trains them to become successful Account Executives. This is a model Alan has successfully implemented four times in the past.
Looking ahead, the company is expanding its competencies adding to its portfolio of services. Targeting professional development has become an important elementin the company’s growth, ODCL has hired a Director of Professional development to help their in-house consultants increase their knowledge and skill-sets. “By further augmenting the capabilities of our team and our consulting capabilities, I believe ODCL is going to be one of the best trained group of OD practitioners in the US,” concludes Landers.