About the Center for Organizational Design


The Center was created in 1992 to create high performance organizations that enrich human life and achieve extraordinary results.

Our Philosophy and Core Beliefs

We believe that “all organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get.”  Results are not by chance but rather a function of the way we design our organizations. By design, we’re talking about the integration of people with core business processes, technology, structure and systems. A well-designed organization ensures that the form, or infrastructure of the organization, matches its purpose and strategy, meets the challenges posed by business realities and significantly increases the likelihood that the collective efforts of people will be successful.

We believe that leadership is the critical force that shapes organizational results. However, leading today is more difficult than ever due to the accelerating pace of change and escalating complexity of the world around us. The traditional command and control model is not adequate, in most industries, to drive outstanding performance. We teach a new model of leadership and help leaders design collaborative, nimble organizations in which each person is a contributing partner in the business.

We also believe in the importance of an engaged workforce. People do the work of an organization and are, ultimately, responsible for its success. Hierarchy and bureaucracy stifle performance. One of our objectives is to unleash the motivation of people and take advantage of their natural intelligence and creativity by designing organizations that encourage people to add value rather than merely comply.

At a macro level, the purpose of our consulting and training is to get alignment between a company’s core ideology, business strategy (how it differentiates itself and takes advantage of opportunities in the marketplace), leadership behaviors, internal design (processes, structure, and systems), and culture or employee attitudes and behavior. We use a systems and holistic approach to change, in which we pay attention to the context of a change project as well as the interdependencies among various elements of organizational life. (See our Transformation Model)

Our Approach-How We Work With Our Clients

The following are some of the principles that guide our work or characteristics that define our approach to a consulting relationship.

Clear Outcomes: We want to clarify objectives at the beginning of a consulting engagement. What are your desired outcomes? How would you like things to be different? How will you know we’ve been successful?

Diagnosis Precedes Change: We want to have a good understanding of the workings of your organization before proceeding with change. This ensures that changes correct what is not working while preserving what is working.

Comprehensive, Systems Approach to Change: We look at an organization as a whole system. (See our Transformation Model.) Our methods cut across boundaries, systems and hierarchy to view all organizational life as a synchronized whole rather than in a fragmented way.

You are the Driver: You are the experts in your business and will make the critical decisions for your organization. Our role is provide you with the methodologies and facilitate the process by which that happens.

Respect the Relationship: We want to design a relationship that is respectful, safe, confidential, honest, and accountable. Our intent is to strengthen and support you in the fulfillment of your role and accomplishment of your vision.

The Role of Trust. We believe that trust is a critical element of organizational life. We want to help you learn to talk openly, resolve conflicts, and create a positive culture in which people care about their work and want to contribute to the best of their abilities.

Preserving/Building Culture: People do the work of the organization and are, ultimately, responsible for its success. Our change initiatives are not only about processes, technology, and systems, but also creating a culture in which your employees think and act like true partners in your business.

Structured Methods: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We’ve created methodologies and processes related to leadership, individual, and organizational assessment, strategic planning, redesign, etc., which have been tested and refined with hundreds of organizations.

Written Materials: We have documented consulting processes, from our work with dozens of companies over the last 20 years and provide written materials for our training and many of our consulting interventions. These are resources that you can use in similar projects in the future.

Frame-Breaking Change: Rather than incrementally tweaking or building upon the existing organization, our organizational design methodologies usually result in big improvements in productivity, quality, customer service, cycle times, and quality of work life.