Home | What’s on the Board Agenda and Why CIO’s Should Care

What’s on the Board Agenda and Why CIO’s Should Care

April 30, 2021



On April 7, Dr. Michael Hartmann and select Alumni and Faculty of The Directors College participated in the CIO Association of Canada’s CIO Peer Forum on Leadership: Being Our Best in Times of Change.

Dr. Hartmann expanded on the traditional definition and theories of governance and gave a brief history on governance education in Canada and the roles, responsibilities and duties of the board of directors. He also shared the results of his survey looking at how board meetings have changed during the pandemic and how digital options have changed the ways that directors interact.

The CIOs were presented with the items that are on the top of the board agenda right now:

  • Strategies for resilience and transformation
  • Keeping on eye on cyber while pushing innovation
  • Responding to the ESG imperative
  • Leading on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and
  • Acknowledging another year of remote engagement

Governance standards are evolving and the traditional 20th century definition is being disrupted by a world in crisis to something that emphasizes the needs for corporate purpose, a more robust definition and understanding of all stakeholders, board refreshment, and policies around the environment, diversity and indegenous rights.

Boards are increasingly getting more deeply involved in innovation projects and digitally savvy directors are proven to positively impact profit margins, return on assets and market cap growth.

The advice to CIOs? Approach the board strategically, instead of operationally to create a better relationship and move projects forward. Boards need to see not only the big picture, but the signals of weakness in the near-term and long term. CIOs should increase the frequency of their engagements with the board and be prepared to answer tough questions about talent, process and risk and opportunity assessment.