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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

Harding International and Associates Inc.
Telephone: +1 (416) 962 6700
30 Roden Place
Toronto, M5R 1P5
Ontario, Canada
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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...
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All Harding International and Associates Inc. programs are designed to:
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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...


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?

Rather than drawing comparisons with other countries, I ask you to reflect on the historical timeline progression of the ANC policies of across the board inclusivity that illustrates how South African Women have achieved equality in the political decision-making process, and by default, the role women have played in making this political phenomenon possible.

1912: Women were not permitted as full members of the ANC at the time of founding

1913: Bantu Women’s League founded to guarantee women’s input into the political process

1944: Group reformed as the ANC Women’s League; Women and men granted equal membership status in ANC

1954: A massive campaign lead to the founding of the Federation of South African Women, that transcended all racial barriers, culminating in the declaration of  the Women’s Charter and several mass defiance campaigns;

1957: The ANC leadership officially recognizes the critical contribution of women to the cause of freedom

1960-1990: Women participate and assume leadership roles in:
 - The armed struggle
 - Underground/covert activity
 - International lobbying/outreach
 - The initiation /sustaining of what was to become the mass democratic movement

1990-1994: The formation of a Women’s National Coalition that drew on a united contribution of over 100 women’s organization that resulted in:
 - Rational affirmative action policies
 - A quota system, that would be a guideline rather than a legal imposition,  to ensure the adequate representation of women in the new government (Inspired by the Norwegian model)

1994: Women achieve political representation of 25%; many leadership positions in the civil service awarded to deserving women; 

1999: Women achieve political representation of 33%

2104:  Women achieve political representation of 50%; 59% of registered voters are women; Turn-out of 73% of registered voters;

To my mind, this is a breathtaking example of how inclusivity should work. Not to be forgotten are male leaders such as the world’s beloved Madiba (Nelson Mandela), who understood and valued what women had not only contributed and sacrificed… but also the wisdom and energy required to build a new and inclusive society….

Rodger Harding was named as a 2012 TIAW World of Difference 100 Award recipient, in the Champion of Women's Economic Empowerment Category. The award was officially presented in Washington on 18th October 2012.

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’?

My own subjective world experience, raised by a mother who instilled the wisdom of ‘loving in spite of not because of’, prompts me to suggest that:

  • The desire to see, understand, engage and empower has its roots in fundamental caring and empathy for those around us
  • In the bigger picture, acceptance of what we see, understand, engage, empower and are able to utilize is the basis of the natural human impulse to love
  • Inability to accept and trust in the value of this desire/acceptance, brought on by fear and betrayal gives rise to discomfort, a surge of self-interest and/or greed

High capacity thinkers, feelers and creators, capable of pushing these boundaries to the limit, are often labelled in a single breath as excessive and/or negative, perhaps because they tend to awaken fear and mistrust in our consciousness.

Few would argue Nelson Mandela’s stature as a visionary world leader. He was so, not only because he suffered and emerged victorious, but because he also held true to his innate love of humankind! One wonders how, but for his intercession and Bishop Tutus’ remarkable Truth & Reconciliation Commission, how South Africa, post liberation, might have unravelled into an unimaginable catastrophe! Similarly we should not forget the example of white South Africans who, in the pre-New South Africa referendum, voted an overwhelming Yes to an uncertain future... because it was the right thing to do...

The greatest and most urgent problem of our time was to find a way of opposing evil without becoming another form of evil in the process… One had to reject corruption by suffering as much as corruption by power; be equally uncompromising and unsentimental about both. These two were the main sources of corruption in man, although there was a third, increasingly desperate contributing factor; corruption by numbers, our tendency to allow collective values to become man’s greatest values.” - Laurens van der Post, A Far-Off Place

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:


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
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

People Acuity Part 2: Not wanting to be seen, Yet being seen...! Remote Spying & the Wallpaper Society!

by Administrator 09.May.2014 15:33:00

My last post on the subject of seeing and being seen provoked several full on debates… Some felt that seeing/being seen accurately was a good thing, yet I did receive quite a few calls and messages from readers expressing the societal inappropriateness of “invading people’s space by paying too close attention” … or worse of “putting others under a microscope”! What tone/example should leaders set?

I have long learned to recognize that people are entitled to their diverse opinions… this is what makes life interesting… but I do struggle with the notion that so many of us believe we can indefinitely hide who we are from our friends, colleagues etc. … who consciously or subconsciously are seeing or will ultimately see who we are.
I guess being raised in the school of “the truth will always prevail” long ago instilled the futility of wallpaper- thin façades in my consciousness. That said, my vulnerability/sense of paranoia is always pleasantly assuaged when a learned mind expresses similar thoughts or offers expalantions that confirm my nagging concerns:

The prolonged gaze that ends up affecting everything it gazes at is not permitted. Nowadays, eyes that linger offend, which is why they have to hide behind curtains and binoculars, and telephoto lenses and remote cameras, to spy from their thousands of screens.”   - Javier Marias, Your Face Tomorrow Vol.1

This discussion becomes perhaps more relevant when we consider our seemingly total apathy regarding recent revelations that the Federal Government here in Canada has been remotely spying on its citizenry via Social Media/ Internet and Financial monitoring, apparently without due cause… proceeding with undisclosed information gathering, just because they can! Does our lack of collective indignation stem from inherent conditioning that what is covert/clandestine is good/normal... while what is open and flagrant is not soo good? I am sure we are still repulsed by the thought of Stasi, KGB or other serial invaders of privacy, lurking in ceiling space, under floors et al...  ... yet we dont seem to mind electronic/distance surveillance in the present day!

Conversely then... Perhaps what we cannot see, and what others cannot openly see … cannot be too bad? Have we become a Wallpaper Society... A society with the default ability to hide unpleasantness until it hits us over the head?

Importantly then... Do we value/utilize Leaders who make the call ... Individuals who strip away the wallpaper ... and deal with hidden issues?


People Acuity: The ability to see and be seen!

by Administrator 05.May.2014 16:37:00

Oftentimes, those who interact with me, professionally and personally, comment on my obsession with conscious or unconscious individual impact … I have always insisted in leadership seminars & especially in career transition and life/relationship coaching sessions, that showing who we are, upfront, will allow us to more quickly arrive at a good fit … the right job, the right friends and surely the right loves!

I had a stimulating first meeting with an industry colleague today - In the space of 45 minutes, I believe we established a mutual and comprehensive appreciation of who we really are - I felt buoyant an energized, although very aware that the encounter had demanded a healthy dose of courage/risk-taking… The lowering of natural fire-walls that might have resulted in instant rejection… 

On the way home, I reflected on how much easier life would be (time, money & energy wise) if we were less scared of being who we really are… Surely arriving at the truth of any relationship is preferable sooner rather than later? Does not the truth ... with the passage of time... ultimately reveal itself? Is it not a better strategy to be who we are rather pretending to be the person we think others would prefer us to be?

“… there are very few people with our curse or gift… No one wants to see anything of what there is to see, they don’t even dare to look, still less take the risk of making a wager; being forewarned, foreseeing or judging… no one dares to say or to acknowledge that they see what they see, what is quite simply there… “  - Javier Marias, Your Face Tomorrow, Volume 3

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