Jean-François Boudreault
Partner | Management consulting

Your supervisor is absent for a few days, on sick leave or quits without warning and you’re asked to fill in until a replacement can be found. Do you accept the challenge?

If you’re up to it…

Refusing can be poorly perceived by your superiors and stall your career. On the other hand, accepting the position may ruffle some feathers around the office. Ultimately though, this is an opportunity to tackle new strategic and operational challenges, and a chance to gain visibility and highlight your talents.

Whether you accept or not, in any case, this decision is not one to be taken lightly. It’s no small task becoming a manager, and an even greater one to manage one’s colleagues.

In taking on this challenge, your colleagues suddenly become your subordinates. Considering that you may return to your former position one day, important decisions that could change team dynamics must be made very carefully and, ideally, alongside your superiors.

Congratulations, you’ve accepted the challenge!

Here are six points to consider that can help you in your new role, increase your chances of success and help turn the temporary assignment into a permanent position:

1.  The first important aspect is determining how long you’ve been given these new responsibilities, because this will have a major impact on the way you manage your team. Sometimes, especially in the case of a sick leave, this period can’t be defined accurately. Therefore, it’s important to be especially tactful in your interactions and increase your scope of action gradually as the interim period extends. If the assignment is short-term, you should focus your energies on daily operations. If the assignment extends further, you’ll need to develop a more comprehensive strategic plan (motivating personnel, dealing with issues, orienting the team, etc.).

2.  It’s essential to determine, alongside your supervisor, the board of directors or any other relevant authority, the tasks, responsibilities and influence you’ll have during this period. Aspects such as purchasing new computer systems, modifying strategic orientations and being granted the authority to dismiss staff must be clearly defined before you accept any position; otherwise it is likely that conflicts will arise with both employees and management. This aspect is closely related to the length of the period discussed in the previous point.

3.  Regularly communicating the status of projects to your superiors is a win-win strategy, since it allows you to get management’s support andalmost as importanthighlights your achievements. Management will remember what you did during the interim period and may be inclined to give you additional tasks if you are not granted the position permanently.

4.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your superiors are aware that you will likely go through an adaptation period and probably need help in completing certain projects. Don’t hesitate to call on both external and internal resources for support. It’s in the best interest of the organization that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

5.  Up your communications with your team. In the case of an interim replacement, it’s wise to be transparent when making important decisions. Remember that people are watching and judging you in your new role and that the assignment may not be permanent. You’re managing a team without having complete authority over your employees.

6.  Practice what you preach and maintain a positive attitude. To avoid damaging your image and reputation, remember that you are still part of the original team. For example, favouring certain employees over others or taking certain liberties that you wouldn’t have as an employee may cause certain people to hold a grudge, which could tarnish your return to the team as a colleague. Therefore, it’s important to be fair at all times.

In conclusion, remember that accepting a promotion can be a very rewarding and character-building experience. It’s also an opportunity to take on a challenge and learn more about yourself. However, it’s important to be prepared.

Such an opportunity is a ticket to showcasing your abilities and climbing the corporate ladder, and who knows? It may even lead to a long career in management.

17 Feb 2012  |  Written by :

Jean-François Boudreault is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in human...

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team have published the 2011 version of the Reporting under IFRS: First-time Adoption of IFRS Example Consolidated Financial Statements 2011 and guidance notes, which has been revised and updated to reflect changes in IFRS that are effective for annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2011.

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The Grant Thornton International IFRS team has published a new guide, Navigating the accounting for business combinations – Applying IFRS 3 in practice. This publication is a guide to assist management with the application of IFRS 3, Business Combinations.

IFRS 3 was revised in January 2008, as was IAS 27, Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements; these two standards apply to business combinations occurring on or after July 1, 2009. The revised standards made major changes to accounting for business combinations and for changes in ownership interests in subsidiaries and some related items.

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Jean-François Boudreault
Partner | Management consulting

People have many reasons for becoming involved in a board of directors. For example, some find it an excellent way to contribute to their community’s development through a non-profit organization. For others, being involved with a foundation is a way to support a cause they believe in. Still others want to either gain new expertise or contribute their knowledge. However, being a board member is generally so rewarding and prestigious that many people still seek to become board members for the prestige, without asking themselves what they can contribute.

The board of directors plays a crucial role in an organization’s structure and takes on very important responsibilities in respect of that organization. For this reason, each member’s contribution is a determining factor and should therefore be one of the key considerations when deciding to become involved in a board of directors. Similarly, recruiting board members should not be taken lightly. The organization’s health and sustainability depend on these decisions. As such, the roles and responsibilities of this function must be understood from the outset.

The role of directors and management

The board of directors and management are responsible for an organization’s governance. In defining governance, the Collège des administrateurs de sociétés refers to the International Federation of Accountants’ definition:

The set of responsibilities and practice s exercised by the board and executive management with the goal of providing strategic direction, ensuring that objectives are achieved, ascertaining that risks are managed appropriately, and verifying that the organization’s resources are used responsibly.

Directors therefore play a fundamental role in terms of the organization’s mission and values as well as its strategy, policies and compliance, among many others. Directors are also responsible for measuring the organization’s results, performance, and compliance with governing legislation and regulations. The board also safeguards the interests of the organization’s members and shareholders.

Management, for its part, handles the organization’s day-to-day activities. It implements the organization’s strategies, manages activities to create value and ensures the organization’s efficiency.

Board members have complementary roles that must be fully understood by the various stakeholders to ensure efficient organizational governance.

The director’s duties

Becoming a board member implies taking on a number of duties that have to be diligently discharged. Board members must be ethical, responsible and, above all, accountable. They must, therefore, attend meetings and be well prepared in the face of the entity’s challenges. Additionally, they are required to comply with the board’s code of ethics so as to avoid conflicts of interest.

Smaller organizations must very often call upon volunteer directors who should ensure that as directors they are appropriately motivated so they can actively support management in dealing with limited resources and budgets.

Traps to avoid

Too often, organizations have a board of directors where the roles of management and the directors are either not clearly defined or overlap. Such unproductive situations frequently lead to governance and communication problems between the board and management and can significantly hamper the organization’s development.

Additionally, board members are often individuals who, though dedicated, do not necessarily have all the requisite skills to fulfil their mandate. They may have been recruited because someone in management knows them, or because they have voiced an interest or have a specific skill, which does not necessarily mesh with the entity’s strategic directions. Board members must use judgment and be independent when selecting members.

Ideally, board members should not have similar profiles. A diversity of profiles, experience and expertise promotes discussion and, to a certain extent, a competitive spirit. Selecting board members requires as much care as selecting an organization’s employees.

There are many ways of assessing a board’s effectiveness. They can serve to determine if the board’s membership is appropriate and if it is operating in an optimal manner. Members can be assessed by third parties or by a peer review, for example, using anonymous questionnaires in specific contexts. Such evaluations provide a means for taking the necessary corrective measures and avoiding problems. Additionally, they can help to pinpoint expert profiles that can be called upon to benefit the organization.

In sum, before joining a board of directors, you need to question your motivation, as this will have a direct impact on the organization. Boards of directors, for their part, can use a variety of means to ensure their quality and effectiveness.

05 Jan 2012  |  Written by :

Jean-François Boudreault is a partner at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in human...

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