Governance Foundations for Specialized Staff

In some organizations, staff with specialized roles will be required to work with members of the board on committees or special projects. In these situations, it is imperative that staff understand the purpose and role of the board to ensure that they work with them effectively while also supporting good governance practices. In complex boards (those with multiple standing committees, task forces, or other structures that inform board decision-making) it is often useful to develop detailed Terms of Reference for these committees to provide greater clarity for both the board and the staff who support them on the scope, authority, reporting and other considerations required to support good governance. This training program provides participants with an overview of good governance practices, an understanding of how to participate effectively in committees and task forces, and a detailed overview of the particularities of how their organization’s bylaws and terms of reference might impact their work with the Board.

Instructional Objectives:

The following topics will be covered:
  • Governance 101
    • Purpose of a Board
    • Modes of governance: generative, strategic and fiduciary functions
    • Key roles and responsibilities of a Board
    • Key roles and responsibilities of the Executive Committee
    • Roles and responsibilities of the CEO relative to the Board
    • Top ten Board practices
  • Optimizing Committee Effectiveness
    • the purpose of Committees/Divisions
    • how they interact with the Board
    • the scope of their authority
    • how delegated authority works
    • governance of Divisions – ie. mandate, quorum, meetings
    • the role of Divisions in reporting to the Board
    • Best practices for working with Board committees as an employee
  • Developing and Implementing Terms of Reference
    • by-laws versus terms of reference
    • key considerations to consider in developing effective terms of reference
    • the role of staff in developing terms of reference
    • the role of staff in implementing terms of reference
    • how to deal with breaches to bylaws or terms of reference

Measurable Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the training, participants will have:
  • Identified their skill and knowledge gaps that have been getting in the way of optimum board functioning.
  • Created a one-year action plan to address their skill and knowledge gaps
  • Begun implementation of their plan and applied their new skills and knowledge in at least three encounters with the board as a whole or with individual board members

Assessement Methods:

Our instructors are continuously assessing the student’s comprehension and ability to apply their learning through assignments, case studies, and interactive classroom activities that check for understanding. This is crucial in today’s fast-paced business environment as each new skill participants not only learn, but are able to apply in the workplace will have a huge positive impact on the business’s ability to thrive. Unlike structured public courses at colleges and universities that provide more general knowledge and must follow a rigid timeline, our on-site group training format allows our instructors to take the time to ensure that participants are able to take the skills and knowledge they gain in class and apply it to their unique situation to get the results they want in their work and business. We assess the student’s learning and progress using the following methods:

  • Application assignments for in between each training session to apply what was learned in their role in the business. (These assignments are sent in to the instructor in between each session so that the instructor can review them and provide further feedback if the student has not completed the assignment correctly.)
  • Interactive exercises, questions and discussion during the training sessions to ensure that the student understands how to apply the concepts in their role and/or business.
  • Student self-evaluation of their learning at the beginning and end of the program. (This is a brief 5 minute paper survey that the student takes at the beginning and end of each module to provide them with a measure of the knowledge they have gained from the training).
  • (Note: Our instructors are always available via phone and e-mail in-between training sessions should students need assistance with their assignments. This ensures that students are able to complete assignments and be fully prepared to build on their learning in the next session.)

This program builds competencies in the following areas:

Duration: 12 Hours

Format: Entrepreneur Training, Group Training, One-on-One Training