For updated information on RRU’s response to COVID-19 please visit the RRU website.

Phil Cady

Dr. Phil Cady brings to Royal Roads his extensive depth and breadth of experiences in leading action research-based initiatives and corporate leadership development consulting services from the boardroom to the boiler room. He has a passion for leading large-group facilitation and whole-system interventions. Phil has led many enterprise-wide systemic projects involving leadership strategy formulation and the design, development and implementation of leadership and learning processes to support system strategy. He has consulted with all levels of government, whole organizations, executive teams and front line teams throughout Canada, the United States and throughout Europe and the Middle East.

In addition to Royal Roads faculty roles, Phil is the president of Cognitive Leadership Strategies West Inc. and a founding partner of the LEADS Learning scholar practitioner network. He was an elected member of RRU’s Board of Governors where he was also a member of the Program and Research Council, and the SoLS Curriculum Review Committee. In his first career, Phil was both a non-commissioned member and an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Phil holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Calgary (1994) and an MA in Leadership and Training from Royal Roads University (1997) and a Doctor of Social Sciences (2020) degree at Royal Roads, specializing in complexity leadership and decision making. He is a Master Trainer for Power + Systems, an Expert Panel member for Friday Night at the ER, a certified MBTI facilitator, certified Human Synergistics practitioner, Certified Systems Mapper, Certified Systems Leader, a member of the Cognitive Edge Accredited Practitioner Network, and a certified Future Search practitioner.


Cady, P. (2020, August). Applied systems thinking: The impact of system optimization strategies on financial and quality performance in a team-based simulation. In Healthcare Management Forum (p. 0840470420950378). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Cady, P. (2020). Leadership and decision making in complex settings., Doctor of Social Sciences Dissertation, Royal Roads University

Cady P., & Devane, T. (2020). Organization workshop. In Holman, P., Devane, T., & Cady, S. (Eds) The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems. (Publication Forthcoming) Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Piggot-Irvine, E., L. Ferkins, and P. Cady. (2018). Goal Attainment Scaling in Action Research: Enhancing a Systems Thinking Orientation. Systems Research and Behavioral Science 35: 2. doi:10.1002/sres.2459.

Robinson, F., Piggot Irvine, E., Youngs, H., & Cady, P. (2018). Struggling to achieve desired results from your AR projects? insights from the Evaluative Study of Action Research may help. Educational Action Research, 1-20.

Sankaran, S., Rowe, W., & Cady, P. (2017). Developmental progress in conducting action research. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 34(5), 609-617.

Cady, P. (2016). A system of system lenses for leadership decision-making. In Healthcare Management Forum (Vol. 29, No. 1, pp. 8-11). Sage CA: Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Advancing Health Leadership

Mapped to the LEADS Framework, Advancing Health Leadership is a five-day intensive program aimed at exploring the increasingly complex challenges facing the health sector. Engage in solving some of these complex problems with live case studies presented by local, national and global healthcare organizations. Participants will explore dimensions of personal and strategic leadership, their role as catalysts for change, and the dynamics of shifting organizational culture. Immediately apply your learning and find new and innovative ways to advance health leadership.

Leading Complex Systems - ONLINE

Leading Complex Systems is an exciting, highly relevant and real-world driven five-day program designed to fully engage leaders in furthering their capacity to lead the systems they work in and with. When we see issues and challenges in our systems as being caused by our unique circumstances and driven by the various individual personalities involved, then so too are our strategies to fix, fire or rotate the person. The Leading Complex Systems program changes this pattern and focuses on helping participants learn to provide leadership that addresses issues systemically rather than personally. Through the application of experiential learning designs, participants quickly learn and apply essential systems leadership strategies to projects and challenges they bring with them to the program.