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Suggested Competencies for Board Members


Finding the right people for a Board involves defining the competencies of potential Directors.  These include behavioural skills, personal qualities, experience and specific skills.


What Behavioural Skills Should Directors Have?
 

The culture of a Board is as important as the skills, experience and knowledge of its members.  The Directors should have the behavioural skills to function and work effectively together as a collegial team.  These include:

  • Ability to present opinions — they are able to present their views clearly, frankly and constructively.
  • Willingness and ability to listen — they listen respectfully and make sure they understand what they have heard.
  • Ability to ask questions — they know how to ask questions in a way that contributes positively to debates.
  • Flexibility — they are open to new ideas and responsive to the possibility of change.
  • Dependability — they do their homework and attend and actively participate in meetings.


What Personal Qualities Should Directors Have?

  • Integrity — they have personal integrity and insist that the company behaves ethically.
  • Courage — they have the courage to ask tough questions and to voice their support of or opposition to management proposals and actions.  Their loyalty to the members’ interests may demand that they express dissent and persist in demanding answers to their questions.
  • Good judgment — they focus on the important issues and base their decisions and actions on sound business and common sense.
  • Perspective — they have broad knowledge and experience, which they apply to discussions and decisions.
  • Commitment to learning — they are prepared to take the time to get to know their company, know their job and stay up-to-date.  They take responsibility for their own education in areas of their contribution to the Board and participate in educational sessions offered by the company.


Do Directors Need To Have Experience In Our Industry?
 
Board members should have industry experience.  Directors need to understand SOCAN’s business environment so they can participate in developing strategy and monitoring results.  
 
There may also be value in including individuals with less industry knowledge but who can offer personal qualities and behavioural skills as Board members and have the capacity to quickly learn and understand how the business works. 
 
In order to assist new and less experienced Directors, the Board uses a “buddy” system for mentoring that provides a contact to an experienced SOCAN Director.  In addition, the new, less experienced Director may call on the President of the Board or any other Director for assistance and guidance. 

 

What Specific Skills Do We Need On The Board?

  • To be effective, all Directors should have the “financial acumen” to read and understand financial statements.  In addition, those Risk Committee members should have a deeper level of “financial literacy” in order to understand the various financially oriented documents that may be presented as well as risk oriented documents. SOCAN-paid education sessions are available to Directors.
  • Wisdom, judgment and common sense, skill in human relations and financial analysis, ability to prioritize multiple and complex issues, ability to perform as a member of a team, contributing to collective decision-making and ability to communicate clearly.
  • Ability to put aside the necessary time to read, evaluate and understand Board material sent in preparation for Board, Committee and Special meetings.
  • Number of meetings per annum includes:
  • Board: (4); Risk Committee (4); Tariff Licensing and Distribution Committee (4); Membership Committee (4); plus extra meetings as required.  Normal participation for a Director includes the Board meetings and meetings related to 1 out of the 3 committees.
  • As well, attendance requires multiple day attendance e.g. Board Meeting on one day and committee meetings possibly before and/or after the Board meeting day. 
  • Willingness to fly to various Canadian destinations to attend Board and Committee meetings, as required.
  • Computer literacy: from the perspective of being able to navigate the Directors’ secured website and receive, open and work with documents electronically (through the website and via email).
  • Willingness and ability to take the necessary courses/ seminars (paid for by SOCAN) to fill the gaps in one’s background to ensure complete effectiveness as a Director.
  • Ability to represent SOCAN and the Board to members and other stakeholders.