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Organizational Development, Education and Training

Organizational development (OD)  is a new term which means a conceptual, organization-wide effort to increase an organization's effectiveness and viability. Warren Bennis has referred to OD as a response to change, a complex educational strategy intended to change the beliefs, attitudes, values, and structure of an organization so that it can better adapt to new technologies, markets, challenges, and the dizzying rate of change itself.

Education generally refers to a formal process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills, customs and values from one generation to another, e.g., instruction in schools, technical skills and organizational doctrines.

The term training refers to the acquisition or advancement of knowledge, skills, and competencies. In the work place, this methodology is used to improve performance, accelerate professional development, integrate organizational philosophy and enhance engagement.

HGI will help determine which approach best meets your needs. We will design an approach to meet your specific needs or adapt our leading edge programs for you.


Appreciative Inquiry


Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is both a philosophy and a process. As a philosophy, AI emphasizes collaboration and the participation of all voices in the organization. As a process, AI is a strengths-based approach to facilitating positive change in human systems (organizations, groups, communities). AI has a simple assumption – every human system has something that works right   -- that gives it life when it is vital, effective and successful.  Based on the notion that human systems grow and change in the direction of what they study, Appreciative Inquiry works by focusing the attention of an organization on its “life-giving forces”  – its tangible and intangible strengths, assets, values, achievements, capabilities, resources.


The term AI can be looked at as two separate words

  • Appreciate: valuing; recognizing the best in people and organizations; to increase in value, e.g. the economy has appreciated in value 
  • Inquiry: the act of discovery, exploration, looking at, investigation and study; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities 


Taken together, appreciation and inquiry are a way of valuing and studying what is best in a person, organization and the world and then linking the energy from this data to any change agenda.

AI is a positive, high engagement process, for existing organizational development interventions such as strategic planning, team development, leadership development, change management, diversity work, enhancing customer satisfaction, and so on.

Workshops are scalable in design and can range from a one-day session in which participants are introduced to Appreciative Inquiry, its assumptions and principles and  leave with practical ways to apply an appreciative approach in their work environments, to a 4-5 day program in which participants learn to  design and facilitate key steps in the 4-D Appreciative Inquiry process.


Building Coaching /Learning Organizations


A coaching culture is a term used for a culture where everyone is fully engaged, innovation is high, inclusion is the norm and hierarchy creates no barriers. In this culture, each member of the organization uses a coach approach in their thinking and communication. A coach approach starts with a curious mind set, a belief that everyone has their own best answers and that, with each conversation, inner wisdom, intellect, skills and knowledge and creativity are fully at play. With a coach approach employee engagement escalates and naturally supports a learning organization.


A learning organization is the term given to an organization that facilitates the learning of its members and continuously transforms itself. Learning organizations develop as a result of the pressures facing modern organizations and enables them to remain competitive in the business environment. A learning organization has five main features: systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision and team learning.


Most organizations have a rich foundation in place from which to build their desired culture. What HGI does is look at what you already have, where the opportunities are, what could be used immediately as an entry point, how to utilize current resources, how to build in sustainability and continued growth, as well as what the success measures are and a strategic plan for implementation.



Change Management


Whether the organization is down-sizing, growing, re-organizing, merging or taking a new philosophical or business management approach, a thoughtful change process is key to ensuring a successful transition. It bridges current reality and history to the desired future.  Whether change is good or bad, it is always disruptive.


HGI will help you strategize change initiatives that will optimize future visioning and new opportunities, keep everyone focused on a desired future, transition with clarity, celebrate and use past successes and heal transition stress.


Curriculum Design and Development

For organizations looking at a strategy that includes education, learning and development, curriculum design is built on an organization’s strategic goals, what needs to be learned, content, resources needed, lesson plans, measures of success ,what is already in place, how the learners learn and delivery methodologies.



Employee Engagement


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Employees are the heart beat and life force of the organization and, when energized and feeling motivated to involve themselves, they generate momentum and move the organization far beyond original goals – the possibilities are unlimited! This is what happens when employees are fully engaged. The Canada Human Resource Centre Report shows us that, in organizations today, employee engagement is less than ideal with 60% not engaged, 15% actively disengaged and just 25% engaged.


HGI will assist you in measuring your employee engagement, analyze the results, strategize an action plan and provide expertise to execute an engagement plan.




Performance Review and Professional Development


Historically, the appraisal system’s impact has been less than desirable. The approach is hierarchical and comes from a parent-child paradigm and fits with the Industrial Age mechanistic approach to work. In today’s work environments, workers need to self-lead and organizations must provide an environment where everyone is fully engaged. We need a system that takes an approach of self-directed professional development that fits with organizational goals.


A professional development tool must be owned by the employee and holds the individual responsible for themselves with the support of the supervisor.  A strong tool includes both components of review and development with the intention to fully engage the employee in the process.  It is about setting individual and organizational targets and stretch goals, professional development for self and toward a common focus, learning from the past, building on strengths and resolving challenges.  It encompasses identifying how the individual can best contribute to the common goal and also have his/her needs met.  The process is built on strategic questions to provoke deep reflection and to act as an intrinsic motivator.


This process is not meant to address serious performance deficiencies. These must be addressed in a process that provides opportunity to gather information and seek clarity on the perceived deficiency, identify what the deficiency is, what the impact is, what the expectations are, what act will be taken by whom, what support will be given, how improvement will be measured and what the consequences are if improvement is not obtained.


HGI will assist you in building your own professional development system and/ or a performance deficiency system that addresses opportunity for corrective action, legal obligations or agreements and processes required.



Team Dynamics


A team is a group of people working together toward a common goal. Each member contributes in their own unique way based on their roles, strengths, experience and knowledge. A highly functioning team has a synergy that is creative and builds success for the team, the organization and the individuals within the team.  The presence of creative tension is common and energizes the team.


12 Qualities of a dynamic team are the following:


  • Vision and goals are clear
  • Guiding principles are agreed to
  • Leadership is shared
  • Diversity of thought is encouraged
  • Transparency is evident
  • Exceptional communication skills are practised
  • Creativity is the norm
  • Individual skills are respected
  • Everyone’s role is understood
  • Recognition is authentic and common
  • Complimenting skill sets are instrumental
  • Positive thinking is common


HGI will help you take your team to the next level of effectiveness, build on what is working for you now and identify what is not and identify who the team needs to be to achieve the organizational goals and vision.



 World Café




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World Café is a methodology that invites creative dialogue within a group of people who have a focus that is a common interest. The dialogue is stimulated through thought provoking questions which set a foundation for collaborative dialogue, sharing knowledge and creating possibilities for action in groups of all sizes. Inclusion of a diverse group of participants is encouraged to access a broad spectrum of views, ideas and creative solutions. This process is often used for building communities, clarifying strategies, setting clear priorities and uniting stakeholders.


The physical space is arranged to represent a café with tables centering on specific subject topics relating to the intended focus. Each table has a host to facilitate and record the dialogue and participants self-select which table topic they wish to explore. Participants are given the opportunity to contribute to all table topics.


The Principles of the World Café are the following: clarify the context, create welcoming space, and explore questions that matter to the intention, connect diverse perspectives, encourage each person's contribution, listen together for patterns, insights and deeper questions and share collective discoveries.


HGI will determine if this process is best for your intention, design the process, assist in identifying the participants needed to add value to the process and facilitate the session or provide you with the format and coaching to support you in delivery of this methodology.



Talent Management


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Talent management refers to the skills of attracting highly skilled workers, of integrating new workers, and of developing and retaining current workers to meet current and future organizational objectives. Companies engaging in a talent management strategy shift the responsibility of employees from the human resources department to all managers throughout the organization.

The term "talent management" means different things to different organizations. To some it is about the development of high-worth individuals, or "the talented", while, for others, it is about how talent is managed  and nourished overall - i.e. looking at identifying what talent is needed, what talent is available and what talent can be built on for the sustainability of organizational growth.

Organizations that have a strategy for talent management have a defined plan in how they source, attract, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move employees through the organization. Research done on the value of such systems implemented within companies consistently uncovers benefits in these critical economic areas: revenue, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity, cost, cycle time, and market capitalization. The major aspects of talent management practiced within an organization must consistently include the following: 

  • performance management
  • leadership and employee development
  • workforce planning/identifying talent gaps
  • recruitment, retention and succession planning

Our HGI Team will help you plan your own talent management strategy or build one for your specific needs.


Succession Planning

Succession planning allows you to systematically build and maintain talent pools. It is a strategy focused on having employees with the right talent in place when needed for the future needs of the organization. The process looks at the right mix of external and internal talent that will be needed -- attracting the external talent and identifying and developing internal employees with the potential required. Succession planning increases the availability of experienced and capable employees that are prepared to assume these roles as they become available. A system wide approach is often used, looking at larger organizational impacts and opportunities. Research indicates that clear objectives are critical to establishing effective succession planning. It is important to identify those with the potential to assume greater responsibility in the organization and to identify high risk areas and gaps.

When you are in a partnership of mutual investment, you attract and retain high potentials through your succession planning process.  To effectively do succession planning in your organization, you must identify the organization’s vision and long term goals, design a support system, and have broad and specific strategies and measure success milestones.

Our HGI Team will assist you in defining your succession planning objectives, work with you to design a strategy and implementation or provide you with recommendations for a full system.