Why Every Business Needs Organizational Development: An Interview with Danielle Lord

The first in a series of interviews on The Creatives Desk Blog, here is my interview with Danielle Lord from Archetype Learning Solutions


She talks about the benefits of organizational development and how it can help businesses establish healthy organizational culture and processes.


Read on to find out how the events surrounding the 1996 Everest disaster is the inspiration behind her new project!

Q: Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your business?

A: Hello!  My name is Danielle Lord, I am a PNW Native, born and raised in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, where we embrace slugs and fog with great zeal! 


I’ve worked in the field of Organizational Development and Leadership Development for 30 years. I love my vocational choice. It brings me tremendous happiness and satisfaction watching leaders learn a better way to do things – primarily as it relates to improving organizational relationships with team members. As well as helping leaders and team members alike overcome organizational pain and frustration. 


My business is Archetype Learning Solutions, dedicated to bringing this important work to organizations and businesses of all sizes.  Sadly, this work has traditionally been limited to larger organizations and it’s time to make this work available to everyone!  


There are great benefits of organizational development, particularly to start-up businesses as well as those in an expansion phase.


The idea is to help you get your organization and organizational culture developed and established in a healthy manner that does not require considerable change years later.  It’s not only difficult, but very expensive!


Additionally, there are multiple challenges along the way: disengaged team members, silo’d operations, and the hidden costs of frustration along the way.  


What can organizational development do for your business?


  • Custom instructional design/organizational learning.
  • Change management: change is one of the most difficult events your team members can experience.
  • Organizational design: tightening up your organizational processes so that all of your operations are connected and understand their interdependencies.
  • Leadership development.
  • Improving team member commitment (Employee Engagement).
  • Improve your retention. If you employ three people and one leaves, you’ve lost 30% of your organizational knowledge.
  • And so much more!


In addition to having years of experience in this often complex work, I have a PhD in leadership theory. With that, I bring you facts, rooted in scientific research, not my opinion or limited approach to doing things. I have developed quite a bit of my own material, which has expanded my already large toolkit, ensuring I can meet the specific and unique needs of your organization. 

Q: What led you to start your business?

A: Sadly, this work is not always in high demand. Limited positions in a relatively small geographic area have been one of my challenges as someone unwilling to locate for a job. 


When the economy took a downturn in early 2022, as usual my work/role was the first to go.  


With not many prospects available, I decided to bring my years of experience to others in an already underserved market. 


I also have a great deal of passion for my work. I have seen first-hand the tremendous changes that this work brings to an organization. I have also seen first-hand the tremendous pain, loss, and frustration that can occur in toxic or poorly led organizations. 


My goal is to help everyone alleviate this pain and frustration. We spend a lot of time in the workplace, and poorly treated team members often bring this pain and frustration back to the home and the community, making the impact even greater.

Q: How have you navigated any setbacks or obstacles in your business, and what did you learn from those experiences?

A: The most significant setbacks so far have been the anticipation of a signed contract only for someone to back out or cancel at the last minute. Most have cited that they do not fully understand the work and are therefore hesitant to spend money on something that is relatively new to them, i.e., increase their advertising.  


I’ve learned that this work requires more listening to best understand how my work can translate into dollars saved, which is challenging for me as someone whose financial acumen is not the greatest!   


There is quite a bit more education that needs to occur to address the unknowns of this work, and translate this to dollars and cents. It has also helped me get very granular about my target market and required me to think about how I can translate value into every statement I make!

Q: How has social media & marketing played a role in your business so far?

A: Social media has played a big role for me so far. I use it mostly to share insights from my previous experience and share content so that followers can gain a better understanding of Organizational Development. 


I have also used it to set myself apart from others who refer to themselves as Leadership Coaches but may lack the depth and breadth of experience that I bring. 


Best advice with social media is to invest in a social media expert to help with this. They can not only develop the content, but can help create organic followers, manage your account, and understand the algorithms and other nuances that are frequently changing. 


Lastly, and very importantly is that new business owners do not have the time it takes to complete all of the above!  While lead and revenue generation is important, the time it takes to develop and manage content can be very onerous. 

Q: Can you share any specific strategies that have been particularly effective for your business?

A: Networking groups have provided me with the opportunity to meet other business owners face-to-face and establish the relationships that are crucial in this line of work.


Additionally, most networking groups encourage one-to-one time with other members to share and promote mutual business relationships. This is especially important in my work!

Q: What plans do you have for the future of your business?

A: I have a two-day leadership retreat called the Everest Experience. This retreat is based on the events that occurred on Everest in 1996, with a lot of climbers perishing on the mountain. 


It was the exact issues of lack of leadership, lack of commitment and teamwork, not understanding how to help team members navigate change, and significant conflict that led to the Everest events. Not ironically, these are the same challenges that businesses face – the very same challenges in which team members lose focus on the vision, mission, and strategies that end up derailing businesses. 


The Everest Experience highlights these really important concepts, in a very engaging and unique way. My goal is to make the Everest Experience the go-to for teams who want to lead more effectively in their organizations. 


I also love to research. I have several research projects in the works, which I hope will contribute to how we lead and navigate challenges within our organizations: we can do better! 

Q: What advice do you have for other small business owners who are just starting out?

A: Coming from the lens of a home-based, internet presence business, I’d suggest four things:


1) Partner with someone who can provide you with a really great website and who understands how to use Google Analytics to get your page in the top-five Google spot. 


2) Get someone who understands social media to help promote your business.


3) Join some networking groups. If in-person networking is not for you, you can find quite a few on Facebook.


4) Look for, and partner with other small businesses that are starting out.  It’s a great way to support others, build your network, and create strong business relationships. There are also a lot of small businesses/startups that are willing to barter, so don’t be afraid to use your unique gifts to help them!

You can follow Danielle on Instagram @dr_danielle2

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Helen Garfield
Helen Garfield

Helen Garfield is the founder of The Creatives Desk. She has worked in social media and digital marketing since 2010. Helen channels her passion for design and creativity to develop marketing templates and digital products that help small business owners create compelling content to drive growth in their online presence.