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Three Keys to Strategic Planning

November 26, 2015

Posted in: WATSON Speaks

Liz Watson QC joins the panel at the 2015 BC School Trustees Association Winter Academy to talk about Strategic Planning:  How to Empower your School District.  The panel highlights the interconnected roles of the board of education, the superintendent, the secretary-treasurer, and community in strategic planning.

Trustee Responsibilities

School Trustees, like the directors of any organization, have certain responsibilities that fall under the umbrella of organizational stewardship. This includes establishing the organization’s purpose, direction and strategies, safeguarding and making efficient use of the organization’s resources, developing strong leadership, monitoring corporate performance and risk, and making certain the organization is in compliance with all legal requirements. Ensuring your organization has a strong strategy is among the board’s most important responsibilities.

Yet, even with the growing acceptance of the board’s need to take a more active role in strategy and the volumes of information available, many boards still wrestle with the strategy challenge.

Three Keys to Strategic Planning – A Holistic Approach

Boards need to take a broader view of their role in strategy and governance, as a whole.  The three keys to more holistic strategic planning include:

  1. developing a collective intention to good governance across the entire board
  2. designing a strategic planning approach that is right for your board, and
  3. trustees personally bringing a strategic perspective to discussions and decision-making.

Joining Liz on the panel are Rick Price, Board Chair and Lisa McCullough, Superintendent, SD48 (Sea to Sky); David Green, Secretary-Treasurer, SD35 (Langley); Mike Roberts, BCSTA CEO.


WATSON joins the Millennial and Generation Z Conversation

November 20, 2015

Posted in: WATSON at Events


WATSON Advisors Jocelyn Tien at JA Leadership Breakfast Vancouver

WATSON Advisors Jocelyn Tien at JA Leadership Breakfast Vancouver

Jocelyn Tien from WATSON spoke at the JA Leadership Breakfast on November 18th, 2015 to address how companies can harness the energy of Millennials and Generation Z. Joining Jocelyn on the panel were Kirsten Sutton, Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada, Al Jessa, COO, Joeys Restaurants, and Nabeel Sohail, a Grade 12 student from Point Grey who won the Junior Achievement Oratory award this year.

Jocelyn is a previous JA alumni and the current Chair of the JA BC Alumni Board. To find out how your business can get involved with JA and give students the skills and confidence to become tomorrow’s business and community leaders, visit the JA website.



evaluation services, WATSON evaluation services

CEO Evaluation

November 18, 2015

Posted in: WATSON Views

The greatest leaders are also passionate learners. Great leaders are open to feedback and continually incorporate learning into every aspect of their professional lives. However, challenges arise when these individuals transition into CEO roles and no longer have processes in place for high quality feedback and learning opportunities. There is nothing is more frustrating than throwing your shoulder into an endeavour and receiving no feedback on whether you were successful or completely off-course, which begs the question: why is there so often a lack of adequate CEO feedback?

Why do many organizations lack adequate CEO evaluation processes?

  1. Lack of recognition: Although many organizations have processes in place to regularly assess employees, the need for CEO evaluations is often forgotten. It is easy to allow CEOs to operate in their roles without critically thinking about the tools they need to grow, most notably, the CEOs that are performing consistently well. However, even high functioning executives need structured feedback from those around them. There is no limit to how well an executive can perform, and by implementing constant channels for feedback, an organization is able to grow and adapt to the environments in which it operates.
  2. Sense of awkwardness: The idea of providing feedback to your own CEO can be daunting, and without a formal process or direction on how to effectively deliver constructive feedback, many employees and board members shy away from contributing their insights that could ultimately improve their organization’s operations. This is why it is the responsibility of the board to implement the proper processes to allow open conversations and high quality feedback.

How can a board improve the CEO evaluation system?

Ensuring you have the leadership your organization needs is one of the board’s most critical responsibilities. In order to accurately measure effective leadership, boards must have a strong process to monitor, evaluate, and support CEOs. If you are not evaluating your CEO’s performance, you could be in for a surprise, and this is a risk you should not tolerate. If you are not evaluating your CEO well, it’s a huge missed opportunity. By creating a CEO evaluation process you are providing fair and objective data upon which the board can evaluate the performance of the CEO, as well as meaningful developmental feedback for the CEO. Therefore, boards are encouraged to design processes keeping the following points in mind:

  1. Education is key: Ensure employees and CEOs are educated on what good feedback looks like and the importance of being flexible to allow for issues that may arise.
  2. Don’t underestimate how sensitive feedback can be: If the evaluation process is new, the CEO may not necessarily be used to receiving feedback. Having a third party, impartial mediator present will help communicate feedback in a constructive manner. Remember, bad feedback can be damaging, good feedback can be incredibly valuable.
  3. Don’t underestimate the importance of the conversation(s): Implementing these processes is not only about the feedback; it’s about starting the conversation. After reviewing the feedback, it is critical that the board has the opportunity to think about the feedback and what is most important. Similarly, it is critical that the board chair is set up to have a meaningful conversation with the CEO about the feedback and the actions needed to continue to grow in the role.

At WATSON boards are our business. We specialize in creating and implementing systems for CEO evaluation tailored to your business. If your board wants to improve operational process, contact us. To continue exploring the importance of CEO evaluations, read the recent CSAE article contributed by WATSON: “Trends in CEO Evaluation: The Powerful Connection between Leadership and Learning.”


Duties and Responsibilities of Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations, Fourth Edition by WATSON Advisors Inc.

October 26, 2015

Posted in: WATSON Views

Duties and Responsibilities of Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations  is recognized as essential reading for individuals who sit on not-for-profit boards in Canada.   Published by the Canadian Society of Association Executives and edited by Natasha Himer of WATSON Advisors Inc. it is the most popular book in the CSAE’s library of board resources for NPO directors and management.

Designed as a primer for board directors this book is an invaluable resource for organizations in board orientation sessions.   As a handbook and reference guide, it addresses the most frequent and common issues related to liabilities of the directors of not-for-profit corporations.  A must-read for directors looking for clear, implementable practice points to help them meet their obligations, reduce liability risk and govern more effectively. In this fourth edition, WATSON includes updates related to recent legislative changes of federal and Ontario legislation governing not-for-profit corporations.

Available through the CSAE website


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