Mission Statement
Business Leadership & Strategic Performance Training/Enhancement
"Our objective is to assist individuals, companies and organizations reach optimal performance using innate skills and strengths within the larger framework of circumstance, workplace and community. Relevant and stimulating programs are customized to client requirement".
-Rodger Harding
Founder

Harding International and Associates Inc.
E-Mail
Telephone: +1 (416) 962 6700
30 Roden Place
Toronto, M5R 1P5
Ontario, Canada
Client Comment
Selected Comments
"This seminar far exceeded expectation - Rodger is poised, articulate, respectful- He was dead on with his presentation and I would recommend him without hesitation." - S.M. Canadian Women in Communications (CWC)
"Your participation in our International/Asia Pacific FS Conference helped make it one of the best and more relaxed conferences we've ever had. Very effective facilitation! Thank you." - Paul Masse, Manager, Bombardier Aerospace
" I want to congratulate you on a job well done. A room full of lawyers is not the easiest audience to appear before, yet you ruled the room. You have that unique ability (gift?) to teach ideas without it being hard work. I found your personal style very relaxing yet challenging". - David Clarke, Chair, YLD Division, The Canadian Bar Association of Ontario
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Corporate Intelligence

CIA Harding International and Associates Inc.

Publication:
"In this compelling book by a former diplomat, you will learn the secrets (step by step) to developing an intelligence strategy by effective information gathering and analyzing, and then to delivering credible intelligence to senior management."|more...

Available from bookstores and online:
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Leadership Training
The Essence of Business Leadership Training -
Be the leader you are meant to be!

Toronto based Rodger Harding, applying leadership savvy learned from military, legal, diplomatic & business consulting experience has a proven record of enabling full leadership potential in scores of business folk. His clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, national not-for-profit organizations & learning institutions.

The Harding Leadership training program raises awareness, validates and empowers the true essence of leadership. We enhance your ability to identify, strengthen and take full advantage of core leadership competencies, instilling legitimate confidence rather than reinforcing a preoccupation with outward presence. | more...
Training/Coaching
Training Program Design and Development
All Harding International and Associates Inc. programs are designed to:
  • Access existing innate and learned competencies/experience.
  • Enhance individual/team ability to meet current organizational requirement.
  • Accommodate changing environment and circumstance.
Our customized programs are built from scratch and will accurately reflect the unique context of corporate operations and identity. Training products that utilize the Harding Model are limited to one company per industry. This commitment ensures that training initiatives will result in strategic and competitive advantage - We encourage clients to safeguard our techniques and methodology as part of their intellectual property.| more...

LATEST NEWS/COMMENT

Leadership Development & Career Planning: Making Concious what is Innate!

by Administrator 12.Apr.2014 18:06:00

“Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again.” - Demian, Herman Hesse

I am often asked why I do what I do:  “How did an experienced diplomat, lawyer/advocate etc. land up in professional/personal development arena?"...

Oftentimes, I flippantly reply that I am a frustrated priest, but the reality is that fierce belief in our innate individuality, as well as the unique contribution each of us has to make, is unwavering. I also see, on a daily basis, that our natural human inclination to conform/comply with social norms is often at odds with our ability to be who we really are!

To greater or lesser degrees, this becomes problematic when individual aspirations, goals or even character diverges from mainstream thinking/trends. My overriding professional purpose, honed by previous experience, is to enable individuals in their quest to be themselves within their greater evolving circumstance - A sort of subjective/objective continuum…that makes conscious what is innate!

In my student days, Hesse’s words inspired what has become a lifelong credo that continues to underpin my approach to my professional & personal endeavors ... Seeing and being seen, for who we really are, is so important in the quest for happiness...!

I felt a deep sense of fulfillment this week then, receiving a note of thanks from a client last seen early last decade, explaining that these same words inspire her every day! 

Leadership: Uncertainty to Certainty - MH370 & Thomas Bayes' Theorem of Probability

by Administrator 31.Mar.2014 14:29:00

The MH370 SAGA from the start has clearly shown 2 distinct human trends. One is age old … People crave certainty and abhor the world of might/maybe, while the other is a more 21st century phenomenon… An almost palpable expectation that the enigmatic ‘THEY’ should have found an  immediate and technology driven/verifiable answer by now!

I find it surprising that people forget that all technology is made, programmed, accessed and analyzed by humans… Humans being innately imperfect, does it not follow that technology has itself to be flawed or at least work within known parameters? (Technology is only as good as the last save!) Personally, I much prefer Marshall McLuhan’s adage that technology extends rather than replaces human capacity. That being said perhaps we should just admit there will be time when we have no control over outcome… the great unknown remaining a constant in life’s equations!

The search for MH370, for sure, is taking place in the random realm of uncertainty. Any conclusion drawn until it has actually been found, will at best be described as probable - Selling the probable to the average person on the street, and dare I say so called experts, all desirous of certainty, is problematic. This is especially so in time of fear/crisis!

For those requiring a mechanism to balance the probable with the improbable, Thomas Bayes’ Theorem of Probability might help:


Bayes, an English Theologian and mathematician who lived in England from 1702-1761, is possibly the first person to have linked probability to logical process, by providing a mathematical basis to infer probability: Simply put he believed that by calculating the number of times a certain theory is put forward by experts, one could infer the probability of its actual occurrence. He pitted the Known VS the Unknown! This approach he felt would allow experts to make use of knowledge they did not know they had – A big picture approach to analysis that allows expert minds to use both rational expertise/knowledge as well as innate intuition. This forces a creative draw on a wealth of disconnected knowledge that will possibly be of relevance to the situation at hand. 
The easy 3 step process is as follows:

1. Brainstorm to evolve a short list of possible scenarios that might be dictated by facts, data and precedent surrounding MH370 (aviation/detection technology; weather/currents; people etc., 
2. Assemble a team/group of experts to develop probable case studies for each possible scenario
3. As a group, repeatedly vote to narrow down the choice to the arrive at a most probable scenario

The theorem was put to great use during the Cold War*. Both U.S. and Soviet submarines,  sensitive warheads and other items, went missing without explanation resulting in multi-million dollar search expeditions, all conducted with utmost secrecy. John Craven a U.S. Naval Intelligence trouble-shooter, his creative ideas/theories often landing him in the hot seat, would formulate several hypotheses as to what probably/could have happened and then collaborate with expert mathematicians to construct a map of the sea bottom – This done he would repeatedly ask them to place bets on the probability of alternative scenarios (accessing the knowledge they did not consciously know they had) – each a potential location of the missing submarine/warhead. Using Bayes’ formula he narrowed data down to most probable and plotted maps that were oftentimes ridiculed as “insane” and “impossible” – Yet he was almost always spot on!

Do we in our everyday world confuse good leadership with promises of certainty? Do we sufficiently value the exploratory mind-set of a leader happy to be wrong... rather than the safe spew-out of known/cliched/expected solutions?

Have we abdicated the thinking process in favour of stand alone technology?

* Blind Man’s Bluff
The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage - Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew

Leadership: Received Knowledge& Original Thinking - An Essential Blend of Opposites?

by Administrator 19.Feb.2014 12:27:00

That it is possible for Heads of State to arrive at the podium with same speech, or that students might submit similar academic papers, are just two glaring examples of societal tendency to download readily available information. Don’t get me wrong, I love/use evolving technology, and am a passionate learner, but should these take precedence over original thinking?

This week, a client wandered around the neighbourhood looking for my office… apparently her Tom-Tom gave her wrong direction. Despite my map and building photograph attached to an e-mail, she haughtily informed me that she “was part of the 21st century”!  Similarly I read of an army unit stranded in the desert because the GPS signal was unobtainable… It was a scramble to find someone who remembered how to plot direction by traditional means. Similarly how often do members of the medical or automotive professions tell us “there is nothing wrong” just because the diagnostic technology of choice says so? Think too, of how easily we comply with fashion, art trends etc. by a quick verification on the internet… Discovering, and often preferring, someone else’s taste/interpretation rather than evolving our own opinions!

Marshal McLuhan wisely said: “technology extends, rather than replaces human capacity…” – I often wonder if our reliance on technology for accessing existing information hasn’t overridden our ability to generate our own opinions/theories/ideas? 

The Harding Leadership Program identifies the starting point of leadership as the ability to identify requirement at any point in time. This important competency is dependent on individual ability to listen, observe, research, analyze, interpret, and ultimately distil clues … random or specific… to a workable theory! Surely this calls for both existing and original information? In an environment when time is too often of the essence, do we not forget at times that what we think counts…And might save a great deal of money and even more time in the long run?

We encourage participants to strive for the right fit… Full and pleasurable deployment of all individual competencies and experience is our goal!

For more information (416) 962-6700

High Intelligence, Energy & Presence - A Professional Blessing or a Curse?

by Administrator 15.Feb.2014 15:01:00

Is real excellence a blessing or a curse in securing a fulfilling/rewarding career path?

In the age of measurables, calculated by the matrix of choice, individuals oftentimes are obliged to comply with set operational performance and behavioural standards. Experience with a diverse group of clients has shown that many individuals feel they have to turn down the thermostat to average, or even lower than average temperatures, to best sell themselves – Is this justifiable perception?

It seems that this approach has also permeated the recruiting process. “You are high energy”; “You will intimidate the rest of the team”; “I get you, but I am wondering if you are not too advanced for your peers” are just some of the feedback people receive when applying for what they thought were ideal positions.

I was especially taken aback this week, when a dynamic engineering graduate, with a stellar academic record, excellent peer feedback and above average people/leadership competencies, was rejected by a major organization for an entry level position. Given the extremely positive tone of the interview, he requested a post-interview debrief: “We loved you… but are looking for a rowboat… you are a speedboat” was the alarming reply.  Apparently his strategic thinking and innovative ideas were not wanted until “some years down the road”. He was advised to “dumb it down” for his next interview!

None of this makes sense to me! Surely an employer would grab such an individual and groom him for a position that would allow his ability to flourish? My work with graduating students over the years leads me to believe that this not an isolated incident.  Much like a litigation lawyer asking for strictly “Yes/No” answers, the current trend to rigorously use the behavioural interview format, at times ignoring nuance, and stifling lateral thinking interviewees! The mesage sems to have become more important han the person! Have individuals been reduced to mere workplace commodities?

Our career planning, job search/interview and career transition programs prefer to encourage candidates to look for positions/organizations that will fully accommodate rather than curb their contribution. In our experience, full and pleasurable investment of all competencies is the first step in achieving career fulfillment!

For more information on our Career Programs: (416) 962-6700   

Business Leadership & Driving Consensus: 12 Angry Men - A Positive or a Negative?

by Administrator 03.Feb.2014 14:09:00

Would anyone in the business world openly declare driving consensus to be an undesirable team phenomenon? Perhaps not!

Yet so often during our leadership seminars/coaching sessions, there seems to be a distinct reluctance on the part of would be leaders to step up and cast a dissenting vote or opinion. It seems as if perceptions of “Wasting time”, “Breaking the flow” or being perceived as “Negative” more often than not carry the day.

The Harding Leadership Model has as its cornerstone the ability of a leader to speak up and give utterance to discovered possibilities or realities. We infer that true leaders should be prepared to:

  • Risk the annoyance, resistance, or even ire, of those wanting to just get done with a task or project
  • Deploy better than average powers of persuasion, as well as presentation and negotiation competencies! 

A young leader recently forwarded me a link to an online viewing of 12 Angry Men! In this movie, a lone juror speaks up against 11 co-jurors all determined to find the defendant guilty and then to go home. The players are timeless… I saw myself and so many usual suspects…

This movie would provide effective awareness training for any team leader – An incredible tool for observing the wonder of how to sustain rational communication, manage conflict, stay on point and ultimately achieve buy-in!  Similarly understanding the importance of factoring individual circumstance into any business equation!

Invest 1.5 hours and check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RelOJfFIyp8


For more information on our Business Leadership Training: (416) 962-6700

Year-End 2013 - Message from Rodger Harding

by Administrator 29.Nov.2013 06:46:00

 

 

Dear Clients & Friends,

 

As the Holiday Season draws nearer, I am preparing somewhat earlier than usual for my annual recharge period. The office will be closed from 1st – 30th December 2013.

 

As always, this is an opportune time to take stock/share my impressions of our operational activity. In addition to our popular Leadership Series

  • The Edward Snowden saga stirred renewed interest in our Corporate Intelligence Awareness Program this year. We were able to provide realistic context to the realities of covert surveillance, spying and eaves-dropping etc., as well as to assist diverse organizations streamline/reinforce their own Intelligence Awareness programs  - Procuring & Safeguarding critical information predicates effective corporate strategy!
  • Career Transition Coaching maintained its steady pace. I have been really fortunate to have been so often engaged by like-minded individuals – The intensity of discussion, on so many different levels, keeps me humble and in awe of the uniqueness of the individual mind!
  • It was our Relationship Building Program that proved, surprisingly, to be the most requested item this year. It is heartening to see organizations placing increased importance on authentic and sustainable interaction/relationships     

The frequency of the Relationship  workshops/seminars allowed me to reflect anew on my firm standpoint that, whatever we might think, personal and professional persona oftentimes cannot, and should not, be totally separated. This balanced approach has served me well. In a fast paced, and oftentimes mercenary, business world I have been blessed by so many of you who, without being asked, anticipate and provide the support/sustenance, so vital in managing the vicissitudes of entrepreneurial life. My heartfelt thanks to all of you!

 

I wish you well over the Holidays … And a happy, prosperous and safe 2014!

 

Warm regards,

 

Rodger

The Edward Snowden Saga in context: Part III - Spying vs Intelligence Gathering!

by Administrator 26.Oct.2013 11:43:00

The recent brouhaha around the U.S spying on the Germans and French (inter alia), as well as the Canadians spying on the Brazilians, brought about by the Edward Snowden revelations is surprising when one considers that spying is, and always has been, a normal part multi & bi-lateral relations. 

It is being caught that provokes the scandal! It is perhaps useful to put the inter-nation spying revelations in context:

  • Most embassies and diplomatic missions have declared (to the host country) intelligence agents under the cover of traditional diplomatic roles. Their supposed function is to gather raw intelligence, or clues that might predict future policy or events. This data is used by government to formulate strategy that will secure the competitive edge!
  • Multi-national corporations depend on intelligence gathering to stay ahead of the game – A forward thinking company will anticipate industry and corporate change evolution to ensure they are not left behind…
  • Intelligence gathering is the art of seeing what other have missed or what others do not wish us to know… This data/information is usually hidden in plain sight.. available for astute eyes/ears to uncover!
  • Spying crosses the line into a covert and often unethical/illegal discovery of what lies hidden…
  • Both intelligence gathering and spying are everyday occurrence – The objective is not to be caught. This is not only embarrassing to the perpetrators, but also reveals their intention/strategy direction. Once discovered other countries are obliged to make a diplomatic fuss – Inherently for public consumption. They are probably engaged in the same type of activity!
  • The worldwide Intelligence/Security family or network is a constant – Governments on the other hand come and go – As a sort of power behind the throne influence, these agencies brief incoming governments post election as to world state of play - This would account for oftentimes astounding about turns by politicians once they attain power.  Pres. Obama’s policies post attaining office would perhaps serve a perfect illustration of this phenomenon.
  • It is important to remember that intelligence agencies share/trade information,internally/externally as a matter of course!

Former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden shattered the calm that supports these everyday activities – Many of us are indignant because we believe this is an unusual state of affairs… others resent having to deal with the knowledge that personal details are under scrutiny or at least recorded…

Ongoing AWARENESS of what we let/might let walk out the door is the only real protection individuals and companies have! Conversely, AWARENESS of what other carelessly reveal is of great value in securing the Competitive Edge … nationally, industry wise, corporately & on individual levels!

For my money Edward Snowden did us a favour in heightening our awareness as to what goes on behind the scenes!

Call (416) 962-6700 for more information about our Corporate Intelligence training programs

Or

http://www.amazon.com/Corporate-Intelligence-Awareness-Securing-Competitive/dp/1895186420

 

The Art of Business Creativity – Our Annual November Artistic Exploration -1st Session Sold Out!

by Administrator 15.Oct.2013 12:55:00

 Creative Thinking underpins sound business vision, strategy development & effective problem solving!

Career facilitators and established artists, Stephanie MacKendrick & Rodger Harding present their annual fun, four-hour painting workshop series designed to enhance your ability to: 

  • Recognize creative strengths 
  • Connect analytical & creative thinking 
  • Confidently apply creative thinking to solving business problems

We have seen first-hand how this process enables creative explorers of all ages and business backgrounds to better articulate, sell and apply their creative competencies for effective problem solving and leadership! A confidential written brief, summarizing observations and insights provides a future guide to the best use of your identified creative strengths.

Please indicate preferred dates: Workshop participants are matched to ensure a compatible group. Once you have indicated your preferred times, we will confirm your session within 7 days. A limit of 4 people ensures maximum individual attention. A relaxed atmosphere with wine/cheese, good music and good company/conversation is guaranteed!

  • Monday, November 4th         4:00pm-8:00pm Sold Out
  • Monday, November 11th       4:00pm-8:00pm Sold Out
  • Wdenesday, November 27th  4:00pm-8:00pm Sold Out
  • I am interested but none of these dates work for me

No artistic experience is required! Register now to reserve your place!

Cost: $350.00, including take-home materials to enable continued creative exploration!

Ask us about our advanced group and individual sessions!

Contact: Rodger Harding (416) 962-6700  rodger@hardingintl.com or Stephanie MacKendrick (416) 466-0569 stephanie@mackendrickassociates.com

www.rodgerhardingart.com            www.mackendrickartshow.com

Leadership: Decision-Making & Ambiguity

by Administrator 07.Oct.2013 13:27:00

"Without contraries there is no progression" - William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & Hell

Science VS Creativity … The Known VS the Unknown

That a leader is required to make impactful decisions is a no brainer!

In our Leadership Program interaction though, we see that leaders so often seem to strive for absolute choices that will have little or no negative fallout. While this is a noble goal, we have seen that the tendency morphs at times into risk avoidance and flat-line decision-making that belie true leadership.
How often do we look to laws, regulations and precedent to achieve a safe result? By doing so, are we not negating the inevitable ambiguity or existence of contradiction that defines our human nature? 

Subjective interpretation against objective standards/custom is an integral part of every human choice. Consider our frustration if told a motor vehicle problem doesn’t exist because the diagnostic apparatus comes back fault free… Similarly a medical professional who informs us we are not ill because the tests come back negative? Do we not then naturally demand that the expert spend more time investigating our problem?

Imagine for example a police officer, judge or jury panel that adheres to the narrow right/wrong objective limits of the law. Zero Tolerance laws are particularly insidious in this regard. In the corporate world, how often do we accuse those who grapple with issues, as ‘undecided’, ‘lacking in focus’ and even ‘negative’… just because they hold up the process of making of easy/blame free decisions? The financial collapse of 2008, brought on by the sub-prime mortgage saga, illustrates the danger of making choices that seem safe because that is what current custom (‘everyone else is doing it!’) dictates! How often to we dismiss a new idea as ‘out there’ just because it does not carry a pre-dated stamp of approval? More...

Leadership: Intricate Minimalism & Service Orientation

by Administrator 19.Sep.2013 08:26:00

Acute observation, intense listening and the desire to reach the truth will perhaps undeniably enable a leader to effectively drive to the heart of a requirement, issue or challenge!

Stripping away irrelevant detail does not however always simplify matters – Prevaricators, bull-shitters, those with a hidden agenda and the incompetent will often times find themselves exposed … Resulting in varied reaction along the Richter Scale…

Can it be safely said then that a leader, able to see things simply and honestly, will require a healthy dose of courage and tenacity to survive?  Both of these elements have their roots (why factor) in care/empathy… otherwise known in corporate world as service-orientation. 

Our leadership development programs place strong emphasis on empowering leaders to access innate ability to read situations simply and accurately … and to forward-think in anticipation of any eventual impact/consequence!

Of course, as is so often seen, it all starts with primary leadership goals/objectives – What does an individual really want to see happen at any point in time?
Understanding the simplicity of subjective objectives in the context of objective circumstance is a complicated business. We believe that it is at this point that true leadership can be identified!

If you have a few minutes check out the following clip: Björk interviews Arvo Pärt – In the sublime realm of music, the same philosophy is so beautifully expressed…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pDjT1UNT3s

I particularly noticed Pärt’s ability to juggle inevitable opposites – A concept that appears increasingly resisted in a world that demands/expects absolutes and the illusion of certainty!

 

For more information about customized Leadership Training/Coaching: (416) 962-6700



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