This research on the effectiveness of teams was conducted in the early fall of 2020. It is largely supportive of, and consistent with, much of the thinking of others who were paying close attention to the experience of teams and leaders in a virtual environment. And the focus on teams also highlights the important relationship between teams and organization leadership and their interdependencies. The research also highlights a number of important insights and ‘learnings’ that will serve us well in the coming months; while it is difficult to predict with any certainty, it is possible that new habits will emerge as teams continue to focus on their overall effectiveness in support of organization priorities.
Organization Development Foundations
This research captures how organizations are re-thinking the role of teams, the work they do and how they approach and carry out that work. This report is based on a survey of team leaders, organization consultants and leadership coaches, as well as research in the field. The survey on the effectiveness of teams was conducted in the fall of 2020 with a goal to examine the following: What we have learned at the team level of the organization from the experience and challenges of moving through a pandemic? What has taken on greater clarity for leaders, managers and supervisors in terms of priority areas as teams strive for sustained effectiveness over the next period of uncertainty?
What if the entire population becomes vulnerable due a pandemic? COVID-19 took the world by surprise, then by storm, compelling us to adapt to new realities which considerably impact our individual, social and professional lives. The Canadian Federal Government, responsible for leading the pandemic crisis response, had to take effective and swift action in a rapidly shifting environment, driven by a new and mysterious threat. Implementing a multitude of effective responses across the country during COVID-19 posed a significant challenge for the Federal Government with regards to speed, agility and performance, and they proved up to the task, using an action learning, collaborative and iterative approach.
Emergencies and crises often create the perfect storm for transformation, as change is primarily driven by the powerful winds of Pain and/or Gain. Not surprisingly, up to 80% of change is propelled by Pain, a wake up call that pushes us out of complacency, providing opportunities to raise the bar, innovate, shift paradigms, modernize, and make systems work better for more people.
The first article in this series focuses on the Region of Peel’s bold decision to pilot and implement a ground breaking approach for dealing with people living with dementia. This model of care has proven effective at dramatically enhancing residents’ quality of life and wellbeing, their family’s satisfaction and involvement, as well as employee engagement, fulfillment and retention, all while reducing the number of incidents, and creating more positive relationships all around. Key information for this piece comes from an interview with Mary Connell, Project Manager for the Butterfly Initiative Implementation at the Region of Peel.
In 2004, my colleague Amal Henein and I, undertook a pan-Canadian research project seeking answers to the following questions: How is Canadian Leadership different from that of other countries? How effective is the Canadian Leadership brand and how can we expand our capacity to lead? How can we ensure Canada has an abundant supply of capable leaders? How can we strengthen our leadership presence and impact, particularly in the international arena?
We are all familiar with corporate brands, focused on either products, services or the overall organization. Solid brands impact recognition, enhance reputation, promote loyalty, influence behaviour and foster engagement. Brands are shaped by a complex set of interdependent factors such as values, vision, mission, strategy, culture, traditions, performance and aspirations.
Homelessness is often viewed as a daunting, if not a wicked problem. Yet, Alberta has shown the way to solutions that deliver results. In contrast with other Canadian jurisdictions who favour municipal approaches, Alberta broke new ground in 2009 by defining an ambitious vision for the entire province: Ending homelessness in 10 years, instead of simply ‘managing’ or ‘reducing’ it.
The world of work is changing, and the most successful organizations and practitioners are those that understand how these changes impact the way they do business. To help them do so, and to foster further dialogue, Queen’s IRC hosted the Workplace in Motion Summit. This report elaborates on the most important questions, issues, and themes identified by Summit participants going forward.
First impressions count. However in the workplace, organizations often fail to realize that this truism is a two way street. As much as we form first impressions about the people we interview, hire and welcome into our organizations, the employee is on a parallel journey. How did we interview them? How did we invite them to join our organization and how did we welcome them when they arrived?
Do you encourage collaboration between departments? Are you ready for a changing demographic in your workforce? Do you know how technology will change your organization in the future? This past spring, Queen’s IRC hosted a summit to explore our workplaces in motion. We invited people to come together to reflect, share and re-imagine how their workplaces could become more transparent, integrated and inspiring. Through an old world – new world lens, we explored how four inter-related trends, are shaping the new employee, the new work, and the new workplace.
With an impressive line-up of guest speakers and facilitators, the Queen’s IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit brought together over 100 leaders in HR, OD and LR from across the country to engage in conversations about the workplace of the future, and the trends that are driving new models for organizational planning. The Summit, held on April 16 in Toronto, featured a number of themes, including: Talent: How do we engage, retain and motivate a new generation of workers? Transformation: How can organizations transform without trauma?
Incorporating what we learned from academic theories and our own practice, we created the Queen’s IRC Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness, which is designed to help practitioners collect data, begin diagnosing what is going on in the organization, and identify where they may intervene. Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness
This article synthesizes my experiences in developing a Sustainable Leadership Development Framework. This framework moves through four stages that help build and ground the implementation of an organization’s leadership development strategy through a vision and strategic steps that result in lasting organizational culture shifts. Examples of wise practices will be given to highlight the key concepts of this framework so that you too can use these strategies to increase the potential of leadership sustainability in your organization.
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. These interviews are now available on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
The idea of co-operation seems to be one that exists only in children’s books with no real place in the business world. However, to survive in the times that we live in the more successful organizations, and indeed nations, are embracing the values of co-operation. The study sought to determine the relevance of utilizing the tools of co-operation such as social dialogue in a dynamic setting.
Can organizations be designed to grow people? With the emphasis on talent and knowledge management in today’s uber-competitive business context, the assumption certainly seems to be yes. The reality, however, is that many organizations fail to develop or tap the competence of their people. Referring to the problem of pervasive disengagement amongst today’s workforce, Gary Hamel (2012) laments that organizational systems are more likely to “frustrate extraordinary accomplishment than to foster it” (p. 137).
Today's business environment is dynamic and highly uncertain. To become and remain successful, organizations must successfully respond to constantly changing conditions. This paper will provide a brief overview of the various perspectives that have guided the field of organization development and change management, with sections that will describe practical application of change management intervention methods for targets of change, and understanding organizational change resistance.
A number of years ago, I proposed the idea to the organization I worked for that we should consider having an internal coach. There were a number of reasons why I thought this would be a good idea, not only for the organization, but also the individuals, and taxpayers (as we were public sector), and finally for me. From an organizational standpoint, we had been using external coaches for a few years and in some cases had realized some value. The problem with external coaching was that it is: a) Expensive b) Harder to access, and c) External coaches in many cases did not understand our business.
This case study describes how a team of organizational development (OD) and human resource (HR) specialists worked as partners with the City of Ottawa’s operational and shared services leaders to change the way all City employees provide service excellence. Beverley Patwell (an external OD consultant), Donna Gray (Director, ServiceOttawa Department, City of Ottawa), and Steve …
When I was tasked with leading the development of York Region's 2011 to 2015 Strategic Plan, I sought out the Queen's Industrial Relations Centre's (IRC) Essentials of Organizational Strategy program. While I had completed components of organizational strategy process in the past – namely, organizational assessment and environmental scanning –
Take this challenge. Ask fellow employees if they have ample opportunity to learn and apply what they learn at work. Chances are their answers will be varied, with many answering with a sometimes or it depends. This is a conundrum. One does not have to look far to find support for the notion that learning in organizations is a critical capability.