Organizations succeed because they have effective leadership and a capable, engaged and motivated workforce.


Organizations succeed because they have effective leadership and a capable, engaged and motivated workforce. The Certificate Program in Leading People for Results is an advanced professional development program for public sector senior executives who are leading workforces or who expect to do so as their careers progress. It will provide them with a robust framework to understand how to lead a workforce and the knowledge, know-how and skills needed to lead people for success.

Why this? Why now?

Public service is about solving problems and improving outcomes for Canadians. A large and varied workforce is deployed every day across Canada to achieve these ends. The role of senior leaders is to identify the skills and capacity that are required to attract and retain the necessary talent and to organize and motivate that workforce to deliver the results that governments expect and that Canadians deserve. In recent conversations, some leaders and practitioners have questioned the public service’s ability to achieve concrete results on an ongoing basis through the mobilization of its workforce.

Understanding leadership responsibility for the performance of a workforce starts by shifting the conversation on people management from a focus on rules and transactions to one that identifies the workforce as the single most important asset an organization deploys to create value and deliver results for Canadians. In an increasingly complex and challenging world, getting people management right is of the highest importance. A well-performing workforce that delivers on priorities creates credibility and can build confidence and trust in government. Building and sustaining a workforce that can respond nimbly to changing circumstances will both support Canadians and create a valuable comparative advantage.

Because of changing demographics, younger managers will be advancing more quickly and will be asked to assume greater leadership and management responsibilities as the previous generation retires. It is timely to offer these executives development opportunities designed to provide them with the perspective, knowledge, skills and confidence to lead and manage the large and diverse workforce they will need as they transition into their new roles.

This program takes a structured and logical approach to people management, and is designed to meet the needs of three groups: leaders recently appointed to positions who can benefit from a deeper understanding of people management; leaders being prepared for positions with greater responsibilities for people management, and; experienced practitioners who welcome the opportunity to build on their experience and further develop their ability to respond to a critical and dynamic professional challenge.

The learning architecture

The program aims to build capacity to lead people for success and thus to ensure that the public service workforce creates value for Canadians. That aim will be attained when participants:

  • Understand the philosophy that underpins workforce management.
  • Can think strategically about the structure, capacity, and organization of a workforce.
  • Can use metrics and analytics to drive decisions about workforce management.
  • Understand the role of talent management and supporting HR functions.
  • Are better prepared to manage the performance of both individuals and the workforce.
  • Are better able to manage the performance both of individuals and the workforce.
  • Understand how to lead and manage large-scale change or transformation.
  • Have established a network of trusted colleagues to work collaboratively across sectors.

A flexible learning approach

At Odell House, our goal is to develop leadership and management capacity. Three design principles shape the Certificate Program in Leading People for Results:

  • First, we are driven by the principle of developing leadership know-how to address real-world challenges. This means greater weight is placed on practical as opposed to theoretical concerns using learning methods such as reflective space.
  • Second, we emphasize the principle of ‘practitioner talking to practitioner’. Our experience has shown this to be an effective way of transferring know-how across a leadership cadre. Participants will interact with senior leaders who have a wealth of experience in leading people for success, and with thought leaders who have developed insights through research in different aspects of workforce management.
  • Third, our final design principle is one of continuous tailored learning through which the program aims for exceptional relevance regarding content, method and resources. In practice, this means that while each module’s general topic is framed as described in this Prospectus, the specific content of sessions is the result of an on-going conversation with participants to ensure that learning is directly responsive to their needs.

What’s in it for you: Greater capability from increased proficiency

We believe capability to lead people for results means a demonstrated proficiency in the leadership competencies needed at senior levels to lead and manage a workforce. The program will build proficiency across the areas set out in the Public Service Key Leadership Competencies for effective performance at the Assistant Deputy Minister and Director General levels.

Participants can expect to have a series of rich developmental experiences from carefully designed modules and sessions that explore the many aspects of leading people for results. The aim throughout is to help broaden perspectives, elevate points of view, and build and strengthen a leadership repertoire in people management.

The Odell learning experience happens along three strands woven together over a period of about nine months. Participants can expect to learn from seasoned practitioners and knowledgeable thought leaders, from colleagues who have a wealth of diverse experience, and from their own experiences through personal reflection on change and growth in their leadership practice.

Participants can expect to learn in different ways: by absorbing recommended readings, through interaction during sessions at Odell, on a study tour to see best practices in people management, by presenting and discussing their own experiences with colleagues and program staff, and by taking quiet time to reflect on and embed what they have learned.

Participants can expect a positive learning environment that is safe, respectful and fun. We use the Chatham House Rule as a starting point for candid, thoughtful and wide-ranging discussions. We ask participants to bring curiosity and energy, to engage, challenge and discuss, and to add value by sharing their insights and experience.