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Regional Outreach Summary

Regional Outreach Summary 

The Organization Development Network Regionals Committee is focused on understanding and responding to the needs of affiliated regionals. The OD Network has a mission to advance the practice and theory of OD. To do so, the Network continues to play the role of Network of networks, bringing together groups of OD practitioners, academicians, students, organizations, and consumers of OD. The regional groups affiliated with the Network are important communities we want to continue to convene and serve.   

Over the past few months, committee members reached out to regional leaders on ODN’s distribution list (link to web site).  Our outreach efforts connected with 15 networks, more than 25% of our known regional population. Thank you to those who answered our calls and spent the time to tell us about your regional.      

Committee members and regional leaders prioritized 5 potential new offerings by OD Network:

  1. Regional leaders meetings
  2. Regional leader toolkits to support setting up and running a regional
  3. Program repository to share programming ideas, materials, speakers
  4. Regional web site support
  5. Regional highlight in each monthly OD Network News 

Below are the plans forward for each of the 5 offerings.     

Plans Forward for Key Offerings 

  1. Regular regional leader gatherings. Almost all regional leaders interviewed responded that they would find great value in regular gatherings with other regional leaders to support one another in their regional leader roles, share practices, answer questions, as well as solicit ideas and feedback. Virtual meetings would be more accessible and cost-effective than face-to-face meetings due to the large geographical spread of regional network locations. These virtual meetings could be organized by geography.

    Committee Next Steps: Convene a virtual regional leader gathering this summer to ignite regional connections. Build an exciting agenda for a face-to-face regional leader gathering in San Jose, CA at the OD Network annual conference.   

  2. Regional toolkits. Regionals across the board share common activities in running their regional organizations: tracking financials, recruiting members, setting up leadership teams/committees, registering as non-profit organizations in their states, setting up web sites, etc. Leaders identified that it would be beneficial to share common practices across regionals, particularly so that new leadership teams have something to start with as they build their organization infrastructure. Although we heard from a few regionals that have very long-term board members, most regional boards, just like many volunteer boards, have high turnover. Information, decisions, practices are often not completely transitioned from one leadership team to another or from the predecessor to the successor officer. A set of best practices as well as a community forum will support incoming leaders.

    Committee Plans Forward:  Design and pilot space on OD Network web site for regional leaders to dialogue and share best practices 

  3. Monthly programming. Many leaders shared that coming up with new, innovative ideas for monthly programming can be difficult. Some regionals have databases of past programming that members can access, but most regionals do not. An opportunity exists for ODN to facilitate regionals sharing monthly programming topics, materials, and speakers. 

    Committee Plans Forward: Design and pilot space on OD Network web site for a program repository.

  4. Regional web site support. Although there was some interest in partnering with ODN for Web site support, most regionals expressed interest in sharing technical guidance, tools, and resources across regionals. 

    Committee Plans Forward: OD Network is building the forum for regional leaders to collaborate. Regional leaders can share technical guidance, tools, and resources within the space to be designed for sharing practices.  
  5. Regional highlight in OD Network News. Most regional leaders interviewed reported that they did not see a benefit in having their regional news highlighted in OD Network News. An opportunity exists for ODN to continue to foster relationships with regional leadership and to highlight mutual benefits of sharing regional news in the ODN e-newsletter.

Committee Plans Forward: Continue to solicit news from regional organization and use this part of OD Network News to highlight new ODN offerings to regionals.

In addition to the 5 potential offerings above, those interviewed cited benefits they think could be achieved through stronger ties between ODN and regionals. This includes the formation of chapters. Historically, regionals have been considered independent entities with only loose affiliation to ODN. Regionals and ODN have not formed a structure that is mutually beneficial for chapters to exist. However, input from this year’s outreach shows that there is increased interest in this possibility.  We heard regional leaders express the following benefits in exploring a chapter structure:

  • A chapter structure would strengthen the brand of the OD profession, where ODN could represent the professional center.
  • Regionals would find value in being able to market themselves as an official chapter of the national organization.
  • More connection could be built by having official regional representation on the ODN Board.
  • A Regional Chapter Manager role within ODN could provide more formal support to the regionals, understand their needs, and connect them with each other.
  • Regular communications with regional leaders about ODN activities, events, conferences would support greater connection.  Communication could also include membership recruiting information, such as individuals who are members of ODN but not members of a regional.
  • Regionals could belong to ODN as chapters and receive benefits as a regional organization.  

Given historical preferences about preserving a loose affiliation between regionals and OD Network, the Network has no immediate plans to create chapters. Instead, the Network has the goal of creating offerings that meet a missing need and attract regionals. This will strengthen the relationships between regionals and the Network. As those relationships are strengthened, interested regionals and OD Network can revisit the need for a more formal structural alignment such as chapters.

Please send your input to and be on the lookout for information about our upcoming Virtual Regional Leaders Gathering in July.

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