Author: Justine Chinoperekweyi
Are you one of those professionals who are blindfolded by some mediocre, materialistic standards and artefacts being used in the marketplace today? Have you fallen prey to some professional gimmicks and gymnastics being used to lure professionals into an ‘ecstacy of professional irrelevance’? Are you one of those who has been on a marathon of accumulating ‘certificates’ and post-nominals without adding value to your Self, family, profession or career? Are you not blindfolded in your professional practice? To what extent does your professional affiliation enhance your career foresight? What contribution have you made to your field of practice?
Why are the above questions important to current professionals? I write this article from a perspective of holistic themes of professional practice and support. Yes, the labour market is contaminated with some sort of ‘self-made garbage professionals’ who have fallen prey to the vicious hands of greedy and self-focused professional gatekeepers. These cunning ‘professional gatekeepers’ have designed models to lure ignorant professionals and yet add no value to the person and the profession. To bring in new paradigms and restore dignity in professional practice, voices of reason should be loud enough to awaken and enlighten professionals. It’s worrisome that labour market reports indicate significant talent illiquidity, yet we have thousands of ‘professionals’ posting resumes and updating their social profiles with post-nominals and certificates. Where is the disconnect? Companies make job advertisements, receive thousands of applicants, but struggle to hire. It seems accurate to state that much of what people have on their CVs and the frames with certificates hanging on office walls are nothing but fetishized irrelevance. The process of reorienting professional practice demands mission-critical professionals to be grounded on the holistic themes of professional practice. What are some of these key themes to holistic professional practice and support?
• Questioning the taken for granted in any field of practice,
• Challenging structures of domination or some deep-seated obsolescent paradigms being used in a certain profession or in practice,
• Encouraging reflexivity in personal and professional development,
• Engaging in multi-dimensional personal and professional assessments,
• Stretching practice beyond professional instrumentalism, and
• Upholding to dialogic and diagnostic approaches to knowledge development.
From the vantage point of the early bodies guiding professional practice, every profession demands a robust and mission-critical professional body or community with a strong mandate to ensure systematic progression in theory and practice; and their eventual integration and application at Self, family, organization, and societal level. Unfortunately, there seem to be a worrisome growth of mediocre and rent-seeking professional bodies whose primary raison detre (though implicit) is the development of professional zombies through blindfolding ignorant, materialistic and ego-centred professionals with certain artefacts and structures. The activities and engagements in most of these professional gatekeepers are centred at the mere cultivation of capacity and efficiency while shirking the development of an integrated human being. As such we have seen an exponential increase in the number of bankers, engineers, leaders, coaches, mathematicians without the corresponding value creation. These so-called professional bodies make use of exciting models such as mere distribution of certificates, holding 5 Star hotel ceremonies, organizing fancy conferences and seminars which are devoid of advancing professional practice, enhancing Self as instrument, and unfocused at integrating theory and practice for the development of a specific profession.
How has this practice thrived in recent years? The process that has led to this industry thriving is what I call ‘deviance normalization’. This is a deceptive situation in which a mediocre or unacceptable phenomenon or subject is turned into a crispy and attractive model through leveraging endorsements from the majority and/or certain individuals regarded as influential in society. Deviance normalization gains traction through a process of social facilitation, social validation, and personalities focus. Deviance normalization emphasizes power, positions, and privileges rather that value creation or improving the human condition. This is mainly done through luring ignorant executives, public officials, famous personalities, and at other times ignorant institutions. Interestingly to the ignorant, and worrisome to the progressive; the marketing gimmicks used in such ‘institutions’ focus on the personalities forming the body rather than the mission, values and outcomes of the body. Ignorant professionals are therefore falling prey to such lackluster acts that have ripple negative effects on the growth and development of professions. It’s unfortunate that most self-interest people in decision making positions get lured into such destructive instrumentalism and have their profiles used as endorsements of improper practice. I call this destructive instrumentalism in the sense that the practice is devoid of magnifying and refracting human strengths, improving the human condition and enhancing the growth of a profession. Rather, the model focuses on giving every member certain artefacts and titles that blindfolded organizations give undeserved pride of place.
In awakening and enlightening professionals and progressive institutions, it is important to understand that marketing has a way of portraying affairs, yet it’s not what it is. This has been normalized as deceptive marketing. However, to develop any profession, professional communities need to be guided by a well-articulated mission that is centred on advancing that profession through people. Enlightened and awakened professionals need no titles or post-nominals; they advance the field through the authentic Self, that is, they effectively use Self as an Instrument wherever they are. Professional bodies and learning institutions attached to them, need to enlighten rather than perpetuate the process of blindfolding professionals. There has to be a demonstration of creativity and innovation in the activities and engagements with members of that specific practice. Borrowing from a colleague from the Organization Leadership and Development Network (OLDN), professional bodies must help members to be deliberate, accountable wherever and track milestones of impact. Members committed to a specific practice must be active and demonstrate learning and a willingness to learn.
Surprisingly most professionals are lured to ‘professional organizations’ that promote irrelevance. It’s worrisome that those in decision making positions are the ones falling prey to such dubious acts; for example Universities, University Professors & Lecturers, Directors, public sector officials, and managers. Such nonsensical practices get validated in most institutions and are even publicized through newsletters, magazines and other social platforms – deepening and fetishizing irrelevance.
The Centre for Organization Leadership and Development (COLD) established the Organization Leadership and Development Network (OLDN), which is an independent community of scholars and practitioners committed to advancing their areas of practice through the science, theory, practice, and values of Organization Development (OD). The Network has Chapters in Nigeria, India, South Africa, Botswana, Afghanistan, and UAE. Currently working on establishing Philippines, Germany, and Morocco Chapters. OD as a field, has a dual identity of the science of change and the practice of changing, meaning it is a professional field of social action and an area of scientific inquiry. Our mission is to ignite insightful conversations across disciplines and be a voice for the restoration of dignity in practice and the reorientation of other professional bodies. OLDN members are attached to other professional bodies and we encourage the application of holistic themes of professional practice in their engagements. Since we serve a multi-disciplinary field, our members are from all fields. We uphold diversity and inclusion hence we have members across societal levels and nationalities. Through the Member Management System (MMS), OLDN maintains an e-portfolio of every member which includes Continuous Personal and Professional Development (CPPD), and Member Impact-Influence Reflection (MI-IR), and other customized OD & Leadership engagements rubrics.
The OLDN does not pride in positions, power and possessions but focuses on improving the human condition starting with effective Use of Self, then impact at family level, organization level, and societal level. Some of our membership benefits are:
• Participation in at least 2 monthly knowledge-exchange conversations facilitated by global OD & Leadership scholar-practitioners, with an opportunity to moderate, lead, and co-present during the conversations.
• Professional networking with global mission-critical scholar-practitioners grounded in OD & leadership fundamentals. We select speakers based on value to the improvement of the human condition.
• Emphasis on authenticity, impact and influence as essential qualities for transformational presence.
• Great learning opportunities within a diverse professional network that emphasizes collaboration above competition.
• Continuous Personal and Professional Development through 24 Standards-CPPD activities to be completed every 12 months through the member management portal (my-OLDN).
• Bi-monthly completion of at least 6 Member Impact-Influence Reflections (MI-IR) annually, with developmental feedback from peer members and OLDN Fellows. The reflections are essential to ensure members’ grounding on the essential aspects of personal and professional development.
• Access to the OLDQ scholar-practitioner publications, a global OD and leadership Journal from Zimbabwe. Members can also get access to the Organization Development Journal (ODJ) published by ISODC through our dual membership model.
• Collaborative and mutually beneficial corporate affiliation scheme hinged on collaborative capital and evidence-based practices. Only OD inclined organizations are accepted for Affiliation.
• Access to the OD library and other research outputs in the field and by OLDN members.
• Great exposure to the global OD & Leadership community.
• Peer mentorship opportunities as a way to promote diversity, inclusion and global intelligence. The mentorship programmes are informed by Member Impact-Influence Reflections (MI-IR).
• All other ordinary professional membership benefits.
Informed by the OD field, the OLDN believes in leading change, facilitating continuous improvement, and enhancing people performance. We believe it all starts with each individual member effectively using Self as an Instrument.
Ensure you liberate yourself from cult-like professional affiliations. Shade off some of the irrelevant artefacts and titles that you accumulated, and connect to Self. Align yourself with enriching communities in your professions. Shine bright like a diamond.
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