Queen's University IRC

Organization Development

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic To Promise In The Learning Organization (Executive Summary)

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic to Promise in the Learning Organization (Executive Summary)

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.

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic To Promise In The Learning Organization (Research Report)

Team Effectiveness: From Pandemic to Promise in the Learning Organization (Research Report)

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?

Key Learnings for Building our Future

Canada’s Pandemic Response: Key Learnings for Building our Future

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.

Facing the Storm

Leveraging Pandemic Learnings (Part 1)

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.

Preparing for the Future with Scenarios

Preparing for the Future with Scenarios

Our lives, personal and professional, have been disrupted in a way that many of us may have never imagined. As schools and businesses close, people find themselves isolated from colleagues, friends and family, and sometimes facing this challenge alone. Everything that we took for granted seems to be upside down and inside out. And there is no definitive end in sight.

HR’s Role in Developing Innovative Organizations

HR’s Role in Developing Innovative Organizations

Being an innovative organization is far more than developing innovative products. It includes developing services, processes, business model innovation and even societal and policy innovations. Most innovation discoveries occur through convening diverse employees, teams, departments and organizations that combine perspectives, resulting in new ways of thinking and operating. Organizations need HR to drive innovation through the creation of leadership capacities, diverse team and organizational methodologies that allow innovation to flourish.

Peel Region Butterfly Project

Dementia Care Innovation in the Region of Peel

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.

Brand Canada

The Rising Importance of a National Brand for Organizations – Part 2

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?

How Leaders Can Use it to Their Advantage

Emotional Intelligence: How Leaders Can Use it to Their Advantage

Ever catch yourself thinking, “Why did I just say that?” or “I didn’t handle that discussion as well as I could have.” We are all human and can make poor decisions in the heat of the moment. Afterwards, we are often left wondering how managing our emotions could have made a difference in the situation. But for leaders, reacting emotionally can have a negative impact that ripples through the organization. We can all become more effective by understanding emotional intelligence and learning how to strengthen our own emotional intelligence.

How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation

How Alberta is Eradicating Homelessness through Systems Thinking and Transformation

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.

Workplace In Motion Summit Proceedings

Queen’s University IRC 2015 Workplace in Motion Summit Proceedings

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.

The Critical Role Of Orientation For New Employees To Your Organization’s Culture

The Critical Role of Orientation for New Employees to Your Organization’s Culture

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?

Network Mapping as a Tool for Uncovering Hidden Organizational Talent and Leadership

Network Mapping as a Tool for Uncovering Hidden Organizational Talent and Leadership

This article will focus on the practice of social network mapping within organizations to deliberately leverage and engage intra-organizational sets of informal connections that are less “hard-wired” than formal organizational working relationships. In particular, the article will highlight the applications of the tool to identify hidden talent and leadership within the organization to support succession planning initiatives and diagnose internal communication and decision making blockages.

A Model for the New World of Work

Is Your Workplace in Motion?

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.

Sustainable Leadership Development Framework

Leadership Sustainability: A Framework to Sustain Culture Shifts

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.

Designing for Collaboration in Organizations

Designing for Collaboration

Collaboration is emerging as a core organizational competence, and indeed an imperative, in today’s interconnected work context.  Despite the need, collaborative results often fall short of the intended ideals.  What if, instead of attempting to overcome elements of inertia, we shift our efforts to designing holistic systems that enable collaboration?  Below, I argue that collaboration is a design challenge.  To enable more fruitful collaboration in our organizations, we need to design for it.

The Government of Alberta’s Organizational Design Journey

The Government of Alberta’s Organizational Design Journey

In early 2013, the Government of Alberta (GoA) Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education’s review of their organizational structure began. This was part of an overall GoA-wide commitment to reviewing ministry structures. The intent was to ensure that the roles within the organization and branch/divisional structures, aligned with the current and future business needs. The executive team supported this approach and agreed that the Queen’s IRC’s model of organizational design, or the 4-D’s, was the process the department would use to complete the reviews.

The way forwar in employment relations

The Way Forward in Employment Relations

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. 

Developing Organizations - A Metaphorical View

Developing Organizations – A Metaphorical View

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).

Scroll to Top