As part of our continuing engagement with Cricket Canada’s Board
Members on their portfolio assignments Wickets’ Publisher Tony McWatt
interviewed Vice President David Liverman about his initiatives and
activities. The following are David Liverman’s provided responses to the questions
that were posed to him.
1. TM: For the benefit of our Wickets Readers what are the
portfolio responsibilities that have been designated to you
as Cricket Canada’s Vice President?
My main responsibility is that of governance; this is the same
role that I held when previously on the board as director, and
deals with ensuring that Cricket Canada has policies in place that align with
the expectations of Sport Canada, the ICC and other bodies, but also provide
clear guidance to the board and members as to the proper procedures in
such areas as team selection, coach appointment and more. As well as
policy review and development, there is also a need to update our by-laws
, as inconsistencies and challenges are found. Policies are approved by
the board and can be modified by the board at any time, but by-law
changes need the support of the membership.
The membership at the last AGM requested increased accountability
for the board, and so an internal audit committee is now in place.
This is chaired by the Vice-President but is composed of individuals
outside of the board. This committee is tasked with reviewing the
board’s performance against the stated policies and strategic plan.
In addition the vice-president by definition has to be ready and
able to take up the responsibilities of the President if the president
is for instance unavailable to chair a meeting.
2. With regards to your assigned portfolio responsibilities are
there any specific objectives you would like to fulfil during your
tenure?
DL: My appointment is only until the next AGM. The constitution
and by-laws of the organization state the President is elected in
even numbered years, and the VP on odd numbered years. I was
appointed to fill the vacancy created when Rashpal was elected
President. One of my major objectives on joining the Board has
already been partially achieved with the appointment of a
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Women’s Coordinator; this now needs to be completed
by recommending by-law changes that ensure female
representation at Board level.
The strategic plan is another main focus; I hope I can
facilitate the development of a plan that is practical,
relevant to the Canadian cricket community, and aligned
with their values.
My other objective is to ensure Cricket Canada follows the
policies already in place; they generally are well thought
out but historically have not been closely followed. I feel
good progress is already being made in this regard.
3. TM: You have undertaken the responsibility for
quarterbacking the development of Cricket Canada’s
new Strategic Plan, for the benefit of our Readers can
you explain the evolution of the current 2018-2020
Strategic Plan as well as the Board’s intentions towards
the new Plan for 2020 onwards?
DL: There is an expectation by the ICC that as an Associate
Member we have a strategic plan in place. The existing
plan was for three years only, and has no provision for 2021.
The 2018-20 plan was ambitious but since its adoption
has not significantly advanced some of the initiatives
outlined within it. Part of the new planning process is
understanding where the plan succeeded and failed, and
why. Learning from the previous plans (the first plan was
put in place in 2012, and the current one is the third) will
we hope help inform a new plan and also ensure it will
be more effective. Preliminary thoughts suggest that a
three year planning cycle is part of the problem- many
objectives are longer term and it is likely that the new plan
will be for a 5 year period. It needs to be understood of
course that plans need to be flexible and reviewed and
updated in their life span- for instance 2020 has brought
huge challenges that have completely overturned the
work of Cricket Canada.
4. TM: There has been some scepticism expressed
on Social Media on the public consultation process the
Board has initiated to solicit input for the development
of the new Strategic Plan, with accusations having been
made that it is merely a public relations gesture and
that very little if any of the provided input will actually
be used. What assurances can you provide that the
public’s provided input will be included in the final Plan?
DL: There needs to be an understanding of the idea behind
strategic planning. A plan starts off as a high level exercise
that outlines where the organization wants to go, and
the broad areas it should prioritise to get there. Cricket
Canada operates on behalf of its members- technically
the members are the provincial bodies who control cricket
in their part of Canada, but in effect these represent the
players, officials, volunteers and fans that make up cricket
in Canada. The aim of this consultation is to ensure that
Cricket Canada is aligned with the cricket community.
The strategic objectives of most national sports
organizations show considerable similarity. Nearly every
sport (and every ICC Associate) wants to:
- Grow their sport in terms of participation
- See success at the elite level
- Generate income to support programmes
- Promote public perception of their sport
- Have good governance
Previous Cricket Canada strategic plans have similar
objectives as well. The idea behind consultation is to
understand how to prioritise these areas given the limited
resources available. This is where the input provided will
be most important, and will definitely be used. The cricket
community can expect to see a summary of the results of
the consultation on the Cricket Canada web site, and the
resulting draft plan will be reviewed by the members to
ensure it reflects this input.
Realistically the consultation undertaken is only high level.
In an ideal word a more extensive direct process would be
ideal, professionally led and organized. This is expensive
and time consuming- and not within the organization’s
capabilities at this time. We are definitely open to any
written, more detailed submissions from anyone involved
in Canadian cricket, however, and will be having in depth
discussions with members, at board level, and with selected
individuals with expertise in strategic planning and Cricket
Canada.
The real challenge is to take the strategic objectives
and direction, and, given the resources available to the
organization, to come up with the on the ground projects
and actions that actually get things done. For instance, it
is easy to state that improving infrastructure (more turf
pitches, national stadium, more grounds) is important but
understanding how the national body can facilitate this
development is more challenging.
5. TM: Will there be any measures established to
ensure that the Plan’s established Strategic Initiatives
will actually be implemented so that its development
doesn’t become a meaningless paper exercise?
DL: A plan is only relevant if it is practical and effective. It is
fair to say that many strategic plans are indeed paper
exercises, put in place to please those who require a
plan and then generally ignored. The previous plan
included measures (ICC ranking, number of players in
Canada, diversification of revenue etc.) but once put
in place these measures were not monitored and the
plan’s effectiveness was not gauged against them.
One of the objectives of this planning process is to first
put measures of success in place, and then to ensure
each operational initiative is designed to achieve those
measures. An effective plan is based on initiatives that
are achievable with the resources available, and are
realistic. The previous plan was aspirational- it had a
number of ambitious projects that in practice could not
be achieved with the resources available.
An effective plan should also be used to inform everyday
decisions. The first question to be asked when a new
project or initiative is being considered should be
whether it aligns with the strategic direction of the
organization, and how it can help achieve the objectives.
This requires a change of culture within the organization,
and part of the planning process is looking at how this
can be accomplished.