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:
Amazon
Borders
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

Does Your Label Fit?

by Administrator 16.Sep.2014 12:32:00

Humans undoubtedly want to understand one another in easily explainable and relatively certain terms. Yet so many of us seem barely able to articulate who we are and what we really want – preferring instead to fall back on assigned labels and behavioural etiquettes!

Fueled by technological advance, the popularity of psychoanalysis, and influenced by ubiquitous political correctness, today’s business world seems to be more heavily invested than ever in processes that label, tag and categorize everyone in sight. Certain! Safe! Detached!

Think how often we are asked, as an essential first step in determining suitability for a job, academic, social or volunteer opportunity, to interact with a program that definitively tells us we are a J … an X, a Yellow, a Blue …. or perhaps a giraffe, a tiger or an elephant?  Similarly, the business world seems to echo the psycho-babble tendency of the social realm. We hear constantly of empowerers, enablers, rescuers etc. Fast thinkers are immediately shelved as ADHD, and folks with any apparent lack of focus are, for sure, ADD! How complicit are we in this facile labelling of ourselves and others? How readily do we accept these results? Are we indelibly and eternally categorized? 

I suppose it is obligatory to state upfront that I am not knocking the popularity/efficiency of psycho-analysis, nor am I a Luddite hell-bent on discrediting the use of profiling tools. I am however questioning the accuracy and the efficiency of assigning a permanent label to any individual. I ask myself:

  • Are people, their moods, behaviour and thinking processes constant? Surely we change… day to day, year to year… depending on changing circumstance?
    What, and to whom, does any given label mean?
  • Are we abandoning our thinking/instinctive ability?
  • Surely technology and computed knowledge are limited to known variables and also susceptible to human error? (The garbage in garbage out cliché has some traction here…)

Is above average excellence, original expression & creative thinking a la Galileo, Da Vinci, van Gogh, Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence and Polanski easily labelled and tagged? Will much needed innovation be stifled if analyzed thinking does not fall into recognizable classification systems? 

The human factor, inter alia, instinct, gut-feeling and random perception, is a critical attribute in guaranteeing team efficiency. Think how often in medical or automotive scenarios, despite evident problems, we are told we are fine and sent home because the battery of diagnostic tests came back negative! Think how grateful we are in such context for the Dr. House types and their ilk who, in the face of stiff opposition brought about by persistent and maddening questioning, make a wonderful contribution to keeping the ball rolling and identifying workable solutions. Do labelling processes weed these folk out at the outset? Are they brilliant or are they out to lunch? Are they trail-blazers or negative time-wasters?

Recognizing others and their behaviour is time sensitive – It is perhaps prudent consciously monitor people, at any given time, as they are … rather than as they should/are expected to be…! 

The ROI of Understanding Personal Impact!

by Administrator 02.Sep.2014 10:27:00

"The law of action and reaction is not exclusively for physics. It is also of human relations.” –Dalai Lama

Do we always have we the time or inclination to consciously analyze how we impact, positively and negatively on others?

Perhaps relating an unforgettable incident from my days as a young diplomat serving abroad, will best illustrate the significant ROI of analyzing the cause and effect of even inadvertent perceptions:

In the car some thirty years ago, returning from an out-of -own conference with a member of the host government, he dropped a bombshell: In return for a tidy monthly stipend and eventual citizenship, I would make an ideal source of useful information for his government!

I distinctly remember the frisson of fear that ran through my body. I was being recruited as a spy by a foreign government!

What was I to say?

Would I be in mortal danger when I refused?

How would my own government react?

Would the Embassy operation be professionally compromised?

Panic soon gave way to anger. In the deafening silence I wondered how this guy dared betray the trust I and other members of the embassy had afforded him over the years. Filled with self-righteous indignation, I keenly anticipated blowing the whistle on him.

How could he be so stupid?

Then it struck me that I knew he certainly wasn’t stupid!

What had I said or done that had convinced him to take such a daring step?

I realized this question was where the issue lay… It must have been something I had done… not only what he (and his superiors) had decided to propose that had set the ball rolling?

This realization calmed me down – When his “So what do you think?” came a few minutes later, I immediately conceded that I must have led him to believe I would be open to such a drastic step. While I also allowed that I knew he was just doing his job, I stressed that betraying my country, living a life of deceit and fear and being owned by others was just not an option.

My concession and lack of visible emotion, allowed him room for a dignified escape. To my chagrin he reminded me of several comments I’d made expressing my extreme frustration with colleagues who had refused to enter the spirit of change/reform in South Africa, as well as declared distaste for aid project incompetence that I believed verged on corruption. Apparently, what I had intended as a strategic counter to negative perceptions, was erroneously interpreted as ideological variance. Added to the mix, my youthful enthusiasm for the lifestyle of Europe was mistaken for a ‘psychological separation’ from my country of origin.

I discreetly reported the incident to a senior colleague, who agreed that the bigger picture advantage of minimizing the incident, at a sensitive time in the bi-lateral relationship, would contain far-reaching fall out that would achieve little.

Leaders are encouraged to see introspection and empathy as a strong value proposition in facilitating response rather than reaction in operational spheres of influence. The positive ripple effect of breaking down the Us vs Them syndrome is, for me, immeasurable!

 


Here is the same message in another format. If you have time listen to The Balance – Moody Blues:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlFYWRajMKY&list=RDrlFYWRajMKY#t=0 to

2014 - Have South African Women Achieved Political Parity?

by Administrator 26.Aug.2014 14:31:00

The return to power of the African National Congress (ANC) party in South Africa on 7th May 2014 reflected a 63% majority with a 73% voter turnout. Significantly women achieved political representation of 50% - Important to note is that 59% of registered voters are women;

 “The candidates submitted [Prior to the May 7th election) are … not less than 50% women … It's a matter of policy in the ANC. We don't have a 50/50 policy; we have a policy of not less than 50% being women.”  - ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe

With a long standing involvement to the empowerment of women on all societal levels, I am surprised that my mention of the above over the past few months meets with little reaction and a decided lack of enthusiasm. This is surprising as many of the avenues of discussion have been with people who have dedicated huge chunks of their professional life to gender inclusivity and the political liberation of women.

What am I missing?

Does this not mean that South Africans have achieved gender parity on a national political level?

Surely this then is government consisting mainly of women, elected by women?

Is this not a heart stopping milestone and indeed a beacon of hope to those around the world engaged in seeking gender equality? More...

Leadership & The Daunting Task of Sustainable Love!

by Administrator 24.Aug.2014 12:53:00

That love makes the world go around is a no-brainer … We all, to varying degrees, embrace love in some or other form – If we did not we would be at each other’s throats like wild beasts!

Most religions, civilized governments, corporations and families espouse love of humankind, in its broader sense, as a basic starting point.  We talk often and comfortably enough of, and indeed idealize, inclusivity, human rights and romantic love.
Why then do we cast out the more empathetic/softer side of our collective and individual psyche the moment we are threatened? Love and Fear are basic, unbidden impulses! Does this mean that we live on two parallel, exclusive levels?

When one looks at the current state of the world, we seem an enraged species – Endlessly ‘shouting hate’ at each other. Those who in such circumstances suggest empathy, forgiveness or introspection are summarily vilified as weak, naïve or gullible – While those who advocate force, punishment, vengeance etc. are considered strong and steadfast … or so it seems to me? Surely big-picture love is most needed when the going gets tough?

Where does this breakdown or separation start? Perhaps when fear strikes TRUST is the first human casualty – Walking an unknown path is difficult when beset with fear. It is understandably impossible to love without trust. Betrayal in any human relationship illustrates this on a daily micro-level.
Consider the following logic stream:

  • People who perceive themselves as seen, understood, engaged, empowered & utilized are, for the most part, fulfilled, happy and content
  • Those who feel unseen, ignored, misunderstood, overlooked/by-passed, and underutilized are to varying degrees frustrated, unhappy & despairing….?
  • In a perfect world then, a huge component of LEADERSHIP would be the ability to identify, understand, engage, empower and utilize others, to ensure, in as far as possible that we all get a fair crack at happiness/fulfillment  - Would not this be a true manifestation of ‘loving one another as we love ourselves’? More...

Corporate Mentorship: Relevance in 2014

by Administrator 21.Jun.2014 15:29:00

I was pleased to be invited by the Invisible Mentor to write a 4-part blog post series discussing my ideas/experience with regard to the relevance of Mentorship Programs in the current corporate climate. Much of what I write reflects learning gained from ongoing mentorship program coordination and participation:

http://theinvisiblementor.com/mentorship-program-relevance-today-rodger-harding/

Leadership Training: Quest for Impossible Certainty vs Potential Ripple Effect

by Administrator 19.Jun.2014 12:09:00

When pitching/presenting prospective clients with options for leadership training, we have increasingly noticed in recent years that almost all request:

  • Matrix or technology driven tools that guarantee positive/measurable results upfront
  • Proof of results driven details from previous clients
  • Guarantees that seminar/workshop evolution will not deviate from the script (provided beforehand)

While finding it perfectly understandable that due diligence and ongoing accountability are part of the consulting/training process, I respectfully submit that it is impossible to give such assurances in good faith. I love technology, but am always reminded by McLuhan’s “technology extends ...rather than replaces human capacity” ... that, in the training realm, technology will provide, at best, frameworks that will accommodate/facilitate both delivery and future implementation.

More than 25 years’ experience and regular comprehensive feedback from long-standing clients has consistently provided an indication of the following trends… that belie absolute outcomes:

  • No two clients are alike – Best results are achieved by careful material/methodology customization as well as the facility to flexibly hold the course, while accommodating seminar/participant dynamics (For the more sceptical, this does not mean winging it!)
  • 70% of our audiences love the content/experience; 20% are on the fence; 10% are either non-committal/disinterested/negative; (I am actually perturbed when we receive across the board approval – Interacting with a diverse group involves thinking… in the tough subjective/objective balancing act that leadership training demands, I believe universal approval is impossible to secure!)
  • 10% of participants will endeavor to implement learned material (with or without a matrix) post training, 20% might, and 70% will move on as before without subsequent prodding;

So confident am I in regard to these pointers, that they are included in our every pitch/marketing initiative. Respectfully, because I sincerely believe in not promising the impossible, we are not a good fit with clients wanting a prescriptive approach, fixed outcomes or a download of what other clients requested.

 
That said, our Leadership Program will guarantee on individual/team levels:

  • A Thought Provoking, Introspective, Exploratory experience 
  • Identify/Re-affirm & Empower innate leadership competencies
  • A potential ripple effect organization wide
  • Total confidentiality - What transpires during client interation is never disclosed


For more information (416) 962-6700

Authentic Leadership Development vs Template Download

by Administrator 22.May.2014 10:25:00


Conceptual selling is an important part of our business - - Prospective clients always ask: "So what makes you program different?" - - Or -- "Why should we choose your services over XY program?"

Against this backdrop, I thought to again differentiate our approach:

The Harding Leadership Training Process, evolved via 20+ year’s diverse client interaction, as well as Rodger Harding’s business, diplomatic, legal & military experience, strives to build authentic leadership, unique to the competencies, innate & learned, of each individual/organization.

All components of our hands-on program, avoiding clichéd stereotyping/labelling, strongly focus on individual or collective competencies as the essential starting point of any training/consulting initiative - Facilitator Expertise, Client Preparedness & the Desired Outcome(s) are the key ingredients! This means that by default, no two clients will have the same experience – They will however, have a unique measurable leadership awareness model, that will facilitate required strategic/innovative thinking, push objective creativity boundaries within subjective budget/resource realities… And importantly, sustain a collaborative team environment that consistently identifies and taps into all available talent. 

This approach caters particularly those who appreciate leadership training as a distinct and ongoing investment that will bring future reward – A rigorous/customized exercise that allows individuals/the team to keep pace with changing operational, industry and global realties.

  
For more information: (416) 962-6700

ADHD Coaching Goals - Authenticity vs Conformity

by Administrator 18.May.2014 18:15:00

 Our simple good fit criteria for prospective ADHD clients are that each individual shows:

  •  A firm desire to achieve fullest potential without losing their innate sense of authenticity
  •  A unwavering belief that creative, lateral and original thinking are their greatest assets

Writer, Nikos Kazantzakis (of Zorba the Greek fame) in his famous work Report to Greco captures perfectly the reasoning behind our criteria:  While discussing state of 'Always on your feet'.... or ... 'Always uneasy', he writes of a learned monk’s dream:

“I saw myself as a great sage who could cure many diseases, but first and foremost could remove the demons from the possessed…  One day a woman arrived from Nazareth… ‘O illustrious sage, take pity on me and heal my son, he has many demons inside him’…
I asked him: ‘What is the matter my child, where does it hurt?’
‘Here, here…’ he replied pointing at his heart
‘And what’s wrong with you?’
‘I can’t sleep, eat or work. I roam the streets, wrestling.’
‘Who are you wrestling with?’
‘With God…’

I kept him near me for a month, addressed him ever so gently, gave him herbs to make him sleep. I placed him in a carpenter’s shop to learn a trade. We went out for walks together and we spoke about God… There was nothing impressive or difficult about these talks. We spoke of the weather, of the wheat fields and the vineyards, the young girls who went to the mountain…’

At the end of a month’s time, Jesus was completely cured. He no longer wrestled with God; he had become a man like all other men. I learned afterwards that he had become a fine carpenter… the best in Galilee… ...

Do you understand? Jesus was cured. Instead of saving the world he became the best carpenter in Nazareth. What is the meaning, then, of 'disease' and 'health'... “

The story speaks for itself! Each of us has a role, big or small, that our innate ability allows us during our lifetime - Rather than watering down the high capacity of an ADHD client to think, feel & engage, our methodology ensures that each client is accommodated in society for who and what she/he may be… !

For more information: (416) 962-6700

Defining Coaching Goals: Authenticity vs Conformity - Finding a Balance

by Administrator 18.May.2014 17:14:00

Any coaching initiative is focused on what the client would prefer to achieve.  The Harding approach emphasises the importance of investing enough time/due diligence into the goal-setting process. We have also learned that goals do change along the way – For this reason our methodology is flexibly structured to effectively meet client requirement at any point in time. 

Over the years we have noticed that clients are distinguished in the main by a wish list focused on:

Skill set enhancement with the view to achieving a specific outcome/goal
Or
Firm goals with the need to map out a workable strategy to ensure they are achieved

A 3rd client group (roughly 5 %), with loosely defined/open-ended goals, often sees the process as an exploration and has no fixed expectation, but rather a desire to see where the process will lead. Our analysis shows that group comprises our more senior business clients, creative types, and interestingly our ADHD student/business entry level clients.

No matter how unique, brilliant, quirky or iconoclastic an individual, all have to find their way in the same world, if not society/community! To this end, balancing subjective desires against objective realities is an essential factor in any coaching initiative.

Rodger Harding's fierce belief in each person's individual contibution to society, ensures that this balance remains an ongoing priority! Our approach strives to ensure that authenticity is never the price of conformity!

Corporate Leadership Strategy: Is Career/Life Coaching part of the bigger picture?

by Administrator 16.May.2014 08:50:00

I am regularly asked, seeing as I present myself as a Corporate Leadership/Intelligence Strategist, why I spend a great chunk of my working hours on individual coaching – I guess an answer is required:

All coaching engagements, especially those relating to Career Transition, Conflict/Anger Management & ADHD, have been a direct result of referrals/requests arising from corporate, not-for-profit or academic institution activity. For me, it is a reality that people collectively and individually comprise and contribute to organizational well-being – Strengthening an individual/team of necessity will strengthen the organization… and ultimately the industry!

The short answer then, is that I see all aspects of my work as complementary!

My own life has been an endless exploration… A quest to evolve to my fullest potential... Quite often not knowing what that would look like ... A sort of Unaware Awareness ! By default, this state of being has attracted many like-minded clients, ranging from high-level business folk, philanthropists, politicians, creatives, students and, interestingly, many of those labelled ADHD! 

Not subscribed or locked into any single methodology or approach, my focus is always on:
 Who/what the client is
 What the client wants
 My ability to recognize, understand and reflect who the client may be…
 Collaborative exploration of all potential client outcomes 

The words of Laurens van der Post in A Far Off Place, recounting the wisdom of the Bushmen, are more articulate than mine with regard to my coaching motivation :

“The real art of living is to keep alive the longing in human beings to become a greater version of themselves, to enlarge this awareness of life, and then to be utterly obedient to the awareness.”

Van der Post felt that in the modern era, there were too many thinkers who did not do, and too many doers who did not think!

For more information on our Leadership and related coaching: (416) 962-6700



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