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

Harding International and Associates Inc.
Telephone: +1 (416) 962 6700
9836 Keele Street
Vaughan, L6A 3Y4
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
Corporate Intelligence

CIA Harding International and Associates Inc.

"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:
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 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...


The Art of Business Deceit?

by Administrator 15.Oct.2014 13:26:00

I cannot count how often I hear the words appropriate and inappropriate!

If inappropriate is interpreted as anything that might offend others, I would hope to never be inappropriate. Yet my perception is that anything extreme, strongly worded, risqué, contentious, ambiguous etc. has come to be considered offensive.

Hopefully it is not too much of a quantum leap to infer then that appropriate and safe have become almost synonymous? Does this not fly in the face of nature?While we know that life cannot exist without death, day without night, good without evil, like without dislike …etc., is it realistic to persist with the illusion of a world painted solely in positive hues?

Semantics aside, I would suggest that the unthinking pursuit of appropriateness creates a breeding ground for arch deceit. The more we strive to appear appropriate, how much more likely will we hide what we really feel from others? What impact does only showing an appropriate face have on team, peer and client relationships? It is a given that most of us are reluctant to express disagreement upfront and are fearful of appearing uncertain, negative or judgemental. We sit at countless meetings with dead-pan faces that reveal nothing of what lies within… Or we smile and nod assent, or even gush with false enthusiasm, while we bide our time and find safe, backdoor avenues of expression. Usually invoking process, regulations or laws will provide effective cover. Do we live in a society that not only condones, but encourages snitching?

Similarly, feigning understanding at briefings, seminars, workshops etc. encounters etc. is commonplace. Oftentimes, to save face, we later pick apart process, communication style, competence and personality as defective or unsuitable. Those who disguise unpleasant messages seem to be considered diplomatic and tactful. Those that do not are considered ‘blunt’ and/or ‘confrontational’! Those who openly disagree are all too often labelled ‘negative’. Our language is couched in terms that do little to convey what we really mean.

My point is perhaps well illustrated by a mediation I conducted last week. In what could have been an easily avoidable scenario, a manager, finally providing a long overdue performance review, included particularly vicious comments from an immediate supervisor. It turned out that the employee and said supervisor had car-pooled in a jovial and friendly atmosphere every day for several years. Not once was any reference made to any dissatisfaction. What floored me was that when questioned, everyone from the director down, excepting of course the employee, who felt totally betrayed, let me know that to have made any comment outside the review process would have been “highly inappropriate”!

While trust is a commonly used business term, perhaps we have lost the real essence of the word. If we deem it improper to honestly express ourselves, how will we ever be trusted? How will we be able to trust people if we have not encouraged them to reveal who they really are and what they feel at any point in time? Consider the costly havoc this phenomenon wreaks with corporate efficiency. Yet, we continue to encourage and train job candidates to present what is appropriate…not what is real!

The following is a simple checklist to guide decision-making when next tempted to paper-over the right to express ourselves openly and sincerely:

  • Would I prefer an honest response if I was in the other person’s shoes?
  • What response would enable me to get my job done effectively?
  • If I am not upfront here…what opportunity will I have lost?
  • If I don’t speak now, am I prepared to let the matter rest?
  • Would my lack of sincerity cost the company money?
  • Will I lose trust if I am less than honest?
  • Do I want people to know/like me for who I am?
  • I am human and therefore imperfect – Surely it is OK to show that I have not understood, disagree, etc. …
  • Have I been invited to express myself honestly…Why do I not take advantage of this offer?
  • Will my self-esteem be enhanced if I am able to say what I really honestly believe?
  • If I keep quiet now… will I habitually resort to insincere/safer ways of expressing myself?

While appropriate people are generally more comfortable to have around in the short term, our awareness that insincerity, when uncovered, destroys trust should goad us into encouraging open and upfront interaction - The ensuing trusted relationships will be worth the initial discomfort!

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...

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

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

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! 

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

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…


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

Recent Posts

  • {#advanced_dlg.about_title}
  • {#advanced_dlg.about_title}
  • {#advanced_dlg.about_title}

Youth Mentorship

Harding on Body Language

Random Posts

QR Code

Harding International and Associates Inc QR Code