OD Foundations | Queen's University IRC

Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

OD Foundations

AHR 300
4 Credits

Diagnosing Challenges in Your Organization, and Designing and Implementing Robust, Workable Solutions

New dates and updated program info will be available soon. For further information, or to be added to the waiting list, please contact us at irc.queensu.ca.

OD is the art and science of transforming systems and culture so organizations can remain fit for purpose and responsive to contemporary challenges and opportunities. 

Transforming systems can occur at every level: team, unit, division, or organization. System transformation is not easy, and only takes place when people are aligned to purpose and strategy, and mobilized for the change. It requires inspiring leaders to drive the effort, purposeful interaction between people and teams to tap into aspirational goals, thoughtful facilitation to foster understanding of context and challenges ahead, and systems tools to design and implement robust and sustainable strategies.  

Organization Development Foundationsis designed to enable you to fulfill the OD facilitator role, partnering with leaders, and guiding transformational change.

Tour of the Program

a) Setting the Stage

What are your roles as a practitioner of organization development (OD)?

What exactly is OD? While there is no comprehensive, widely accepted definition of OD, we will use analogies to create a working definition that will guide you as an OD practitioner back in your organization.

The focus will be on classic OD principles: collaboration; the group as the unit of change; action learning; and whole systems perspective.

b) Understanding Where OD Came From

To know where we are going it helps to know where we have been. This section provides the historical perspective you need to ground future practice.

You will examine:

  • Major theorists who influenced the evolution of OD from scientific management to systems theory, with a view to understanding contemporary practices such as large-scale interventions
  • How OD theory and practice have shaped our perspectives of the effective workplace
  • How environmental factors influence our definition of the ideal organization

c) Defining the Well-Designed Workplace

Organization development means creating an enabling workplace where people can work effectively toward strategic goals. What defines functional, high-performance workplaces? The answer lies in the Queen's IRC OD diagnostic model, the Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness. Explore challenges your organization is experiencing for each area of the Blueprint by using the Gap Analyser.

d) Exploring the Action Research Model

Go deep into the action research consulting process, in which practitioners partner with their clients to collect and analyze data and create interventions to accomplish the client's goals.

You will learn:

  • How data are collected through interviews, focus groups, surveys, observations, review of historical material, and other methods
  • How data are analyzed and presented to the client group so that a shared diagnosis and interventions can be developed

e) Viewing the Organization From a Systems Perspective

OD is a change process that looks at the overall dynamics of people systems, and how changes in one area affect the other parts. You will work through a series of thought-provoking, experiential activities designed to highlight the importance of systems thinking.

You will learn:

  • Tools for mapping systems
  • Barriers that block innovation and create misalignments

f) The OD Blueprint and OD Consulting Process

This is your chance to start working with the theory and skills you have been learning. Using the OD Blueprint as the diagnostic template and the action research consulting model, you will work through a case scenario. Your small group will:

  • Diagnose the problem or challenge
  • Assess relevant data
  • Define the change agenda
  • Discuss possible interventions
  • Share the valuable information generated with the entire group

g) Self as Instrument

Taking stock of all that you have learned this week and the challenges that await you on the return to work, how prepared are you for the various roles that you will play as an OD practitioner?

In this closing module, we will ask you to turn the lens on yourself and answer the following questions:

  • What talents do I bring to my role as an OD practitioner?
  • What drivers- values, goals, needs, wants - motivate me to do my best work?
  • What deep knowledge do I possess based on life experiences and observations?
  • What must I do to continue my personal development?

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the week, you will be better positioned to:

  • Use systems tools, like the IRC’s Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness and the 4-D process to assess systems coherence and health 
  • Diagnose organizational challenges using the Queen’s IRC Blueprint 
  • Engage stakeholders in the 4-D action learning process to tap into collective knowledge and know how, in order to gain a full understanding of the challenge at hand, and design workable solutions that people are energized to implement because they were involved from the start 
  • Put in practice OD principles: systems thinking, action learning, client partnering, and stakeholder engagement to foster holistic and creative thinking, widespread collaboration, and the iterative development of robust options for moving forward 
  • Apply OD theories and practices to one of your organizational challenges, and create a plan for moving forward



Organizational Benefits

  • People management systems aligned to the organization's north star
  • Ability to move toward culture-level change with lasting effect
  • Shared ownership of complex challenges
  • Better understanding of bottlenecks blocking greater effectiveness

Takeaway Tools

  • Participant Case Study Workbook
  • Blueprint for Organizational Effectiveness
  • Organizational Effectiveness Gap Analysis

Who Should Attend

Human resources and organizational development practitioners, team leaders, external and internal consultants, planners, and implementers of change who want to learn a leading-edge methodology for understanding and achieving optimal organization development

Facilitators and Speakers

Lead Facilitator(s)

Brenda Barker Scott

Brenda Barker Scott is a groundbreaker with a passion for creating workplaces that inspire, connect and grow people. Over her twenty-year career in teaching and consulting, Brenda has led ambitious renewal efforts aimed at enhancing innovation and collaboration with provincial governments and agencies, school boards, not-for-profits and private firms.

When working with leadership teams, she combines strong theoretical knowledge with practical methodologies to ensure that the right people are engaged in the right conversations to design robust and workable strategies.

Brenda is co-author of Building Smart Teams: A Roadmap to High Performance (Sage 2004), and is currently undertaking field...

Read the full bio for Brenda Barker Scott

Françoise Morissette

Françoise Morissette, M.Ed., P.C.C., has been a facilitator at Queen’s IRC since 1994, and was made a Fellow in 2006. She played a key role in developing and implementing Queen’s IRC’s Organizational Development curriculum and teaches on the OD Foundations and Coaching Skills programs. Françoise is a Certified Professional Coach, and she leverages coaching in her leadership practice, as well as training leaders and HR professionals on coaching skills.

Françoise is a major contributor to the OD field, with an emphasis on leadership and systems transformation, helping individuals, organizations and communities enhance their leadership capacity for performance and sustainability. In 2016, she...

Read the full bio for Françoise Morissette

Guest Speaker(s)

*The roster of speakers is subject to change.

Venues and Accommodations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a program?

You can register online, call us toll-free at 1-888-858-7838, or email us at irc@queensu.ca. Once you register, we will send you a confirmation by email. Information about the program location, check-in time, and the agenda will follow.

How do I pay for the program?

If you are registering online, you may pay by Visa or MasterCard.  You may also choose to be invoiced first, and pay by cheque (payable to Queen's University) or credit card. You may also wish to call us with your credit card number to make the payment.

If your organization is tax exempt, we will require a copy of your tax exemption certificate.

Do you offer discounts?

Yes. We offer an Early-Bird discount.  If you register 60 days before the start of a program, you will save $300 on the tuition of four- and five-day programs, and $150 on two- and three-day programs.

If you register three people from the same organization in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 10% discount on program fees. If you register five or more people in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 20% discount.

If you know you will be pursuing a Queen's Certificate and would like to remit tuition in one payment before your first program, we offer a special fee with a considerable saving. Contact us at irc@queensu.ca for more information.

Please note that only one discount may be applied.

What is included in the registration fee?

Program fees include tuition, workbook materials, lunches, and some dinners. You are responsible for transportation, accommodation, and some meals.

Once I enroll in a program, may I cancel without penalty?

Substitutions are permitted with no penalty at any time. Transfers and cancellations are permitted with no penalty up to 3 weeks prior to the program start date. There will be a $500 fee charged for cancellations, transfers, and no-shows within 3 weeks of the program start date.

Where does the program take place?

Our programs typically take place at a hotel. This information can be found in the tab above, called Venue and Accommodations.

I would like to make my travel plans.  What are the start and end times for the program?

The OD Foundations program starts at 8:30 a.m. on the first day. (Registration runs from 8:00 - 8:30 a.m.)

The program finishes at 4:00 p.m. on the last day.

If I am working towards a Queen's IRC Certificate, which course should I take first?

You may take the programs in any order that reflects your learning needs at the time. Our certificates feature a core program or programs that introduce you to what we consider the core competencies of the field. The remaining programs offer a deeper exploration of each area. For this reason, we find that participants in the certificate stream benefit most by taking the foundational program first.

My level of expertise is above the foundational program for the certificate I am working on. Do I still need to take that program to earn a certificate?

Queen's IRC offers participants maximum flexibility to customize their individual training needs. Upon request, participants with advanced expertise may skip the foundational program, and choose another program from our entire program lineup, for credit towards a certificate. Participants must earn 12 credits to earn a certificate.

How long do I have to complete a certificate?

We attach no timeline for achieving your certificate. Once you have earned a credit, you have earned the credit. We do recommend, however, that participants complete their certificate within one to six years. Most people earn their certificates within three years.

What if I want to take one of your programs but do not want to pursue a certificate?

That's fine. All of our programs may be taken individually, and you can mix and match the courses in labour relations, human resources and organization development, depending on your learning needs. At the conclusion of each program, you are given a certificate of completion.

I have taken a custom program with the IRC.  Will this count towards a certificate?

Yes. Participants who take an IRC custom program may also use their training days as credits towards a certificate.

If I have other questions, who may I speak with personally?

For a program registration query, please feel free to call us at 1-888-858-7838 or 613-533-6628. To reach the Director and staff members, consult our online directory. To reach one of our facilitators, please contact Stephanie Noel at 613-533-6000 ext. 77088 or stephanie.noel@queensu.ca.