Archive for February, 2012

New “Sports Governance Education Program”

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Board Members of local sport organizations are facing an ever increasing list of problems previously unimaginable. They also find themselves under increased scrutiny to demonstrate accountability and transparency to a host of stakeholders – parents, government officials, the media, team players, coaches and trainers and the staff members that support the organization.

The Sports Governance College is now offering them a lifeline.

A new training program is being offered by the College called The Sports Governance Education Program™. It is designed to help Board members in driving and sustaining the success of their sports organizations though better governance and risk management.

The program is taught by world class governance experts and is intended for board members and executive directors of sport organizations of all sizes.

The program involves six, three hour evening sessions, taught once a week from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario, starting March 21st. Cost is $600 for each registrant and even includes a light dinner each evening.

Session topics include:

1.      The Principles of Good Sports Governance

2.      Roles, Responsibilities, Accountabilities and Culture

3.      Introduction to “basic” Financial Literacy

4.      Good Boards Need Good Directors

5.      Developing Strategic Thinking vs. Strategic Planning

6.      Risk Management

The program is officially endorsed by the Burlington Sport Alliance, Sport Hamilton and two CFL football teams (The Toronto Argos and BC Lionss)!

For more information or to register, please go to: or email


The Sports Governance College™ promotes the highest standards of professionalism in the governance of sports organizations of all sizes – local, provincial and national. Its goal is to provide educational programs that will acquaint Board members and Executive Directors with their governance options, their implementation, best practices, and their consequences.

Charities and Good Governance

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Recently the Toronto Star posted an article entitled, “Audit of Charities Encounters Resistance.” The opening line read as follows: “Nineteen of Canada’s 100 largest charities do not release their full audited financial statements to the public and refused to provide them to an independent agency that evaluates charities.” The article listed a number of well known charities, here are but a few:

War Amps of Canada

Children’s Wish Foundation

Canadian Cancer Society

The Royal Ontario Museum

While it is commonly known that Canadian charities are not legally bound to disclose their audited financial statements, the question remains: Do they have an ethical or moral obligation to do so? The answer is yes.

Many assume that because an organization is not for profit in nature it will have in place organizational strategies that are ethically guided and based on the principles of good governance. Having said this, perhaps it’s time to remind Canadian charities of a fundamental principle of good governance: there must be a high degree of accountability and transparency in their operations and finances. To be accountable, charities must especially be willing to provide information of different types to their various stakeholders. This includes their mission, their front-line activities, and their sources and uses of donated funds.

Most charities can only succeed in achieving their mission by receiving financial donations from the public. In order to continue to do so, they must maintain a high level of public trust. How do these organizations expect to instil trust by society when they outright refuse to publish their financials? It only makes sense that charitable donors have the right to know how their money is being spent. They need to know what portion of a charity’s income actually reaches the end cause as opposed to being absorbed by management salaries, marketing activities and “reserves”. By failing to make public their financial information, charitable organizations are clearly undermining some of the most basic principles of good governance. In fact, when you think about it, charities are really owned by society. And so, society – the public – should therefore have access to the charity’s financial accounts.

Why some charitable organizations refuse to disclose their financial statements is a loaded question. Accordingly, we need to be careful not to jump the gun and simply assume that when this happens, such organizations are engaged in devilish and unethical practices. Perhaps their boards have simply not yet considered the benefits and obligation in doing so. For the most part, Canadians continue to trust their charitable organizations. However, over the course of the next few years, Canadians must continue to push for greater financial transparency. Wise charitable organizations, in turn, will not view this as a necessary evil but rather as an opportunity to reassure donors and reinforce the very high level of trust that society places in them.


Mission Statements: Strategies to Consider

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

For many organizations, controlling workplace and employee behaviour is by no means a new problem. Getting employees to behave in a manner which is consistent with and reinforces the goals and aspirations contained in the company mission statement (a core and cornerstone strategic document) is at best an ongoing challenge.

Indeed, the true test of any mission statement’s worth, and worthiness, lies in its ability to inspire, control and influence employee behaviour. It’s also the job of corporate and institutional leaders to make sure this happens.

While it is beyond the scope of today’s blog to delve into all of the activities required to become a mission driven organization (for that you have to read my 2011 Business Best Seller, A Tale of Two Employees and the person who wanted to lead them), I can however outline a few strategies wise leaders must consider when developing and implementing an effective, behaviour influencing mission statement:

Have a mission statement that addresses the needs of all key stakeholders (from the brass to the grass roots of the organization)
Re-introduce employees to the mission statement on a regular basis (ensuring that they know it, understand it and are focused, and committed to it)
Reinforce the mission through organizational structures, systems and procedures (this especially includes the recruitment, training and reward systems)
Engage employees by allowing them to provide feedback and suggestions on what the mission statement means to them and how it can be improved

Only by incorporating the above mentioned practices can a company ever expect their mission statement to have an effect on their employees. It’s that simple . . . really!! Failing to do so will result, I can assure you, in having a mission statement that is hardly worth the paper it is written on.

My closing thought:

For any corporation to successfully develop and implement a mission statement, it must possess a team of well-trained, engaged employees who are committed to upholding it. And what are the consequences of not being mission driven? Chaos, confusion and contempt. Just ask any failing organization.