Research and Resources
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Teamwork is the way we work in organizations. In our highly dynamic work environments, people are challenged to collaborate, almost daily, in service of efficiency, quality and innovation goals. Often, these challenges require coworkers from different units and with diverse skills, to quickly group and flexibly regroup as projects unfold. Unfortunately, most organizations are not designed for fluid, cross-boundary collaboration. To the contrary, the legacy of the formal hierarchy, with tightly defined job boundaries, serves to thwart, rather than promote teamwork across boundaries.
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.
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 –
About seven years ago, while working in our human resources branch, my manager recommended that I take a couple of the Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) Organization Development (OD) certificate courses. Thus began a journey, which this year, culminated in
It's a familiar story. While organizational design is not new – for centuries leaders have experimented with the best way to structure their kingdoms, armies, churches, factories, and governments – our track record has been less than stellar. Intuitively, we know that organizational design must enable employees to be more innovative, service oriented, connected, and efficient.
In today's fast paced world, organization design is an essential competency. As leaders strive to become more efficient, customer focused, and/or innovative, organizational forms must necessarily adapt in support.
While teams have traditionally focused on their own insular work and processes, today's teams must take a whole-systems perspective and engage system players in the learning journey. Accordingly, they are more focused on getting a holistic understanding of the challenge, securing required resources and expertise, and defining the process members will follow.
People management professionals are often exhorted to become more knowledgeable about business strategy but many are discouraged by the jargon and the apparent complexity of the field. While it is true that a radical rethink of your organization's strategy involves creativity and specialized skills, most regular strategic planning exercises do not require that level of sophistication.
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.
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Our research includes a variety of activities that complement our programming. Through surveys, interviews, and articles, we aim to communicate trends in the HR and LR fields.
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