Position Description Writing Guide for Chief Executive Officer Positions in Crown Corporations

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Table of Contents

  1. Section One — Introduction
  2. Section Two — Building the Position Description
    1. Step One: Gathering the Job Information
    2. Step Two: Identifying the Job
    3. Step Three: General Accountability Statement
    4. Step Four: Organization Structure
    5. Step Five: Nature and Scope
    6. Step Six: Dimensions of the Job
    7. Step Seven: Specific Accountabilities
    8. Step Eight: Environmental and Working Conditions
    9. Step Nine: Core Competencies
  3. Section Three — Review Checks
  4. Appendix A — Information Gathering Checklist
  5. Appendix B — Model Position Description
  6. Appendix C — Position Description Template

Section One — Introduction

A Position Description is a short and concise description of  the role, accountabilities and challenges of a position, presented in a structured manner that contains all of the information necessary to evaluate the position against the Position Evaluation Plan for Chief Executive Officers of Crown Corporations. It also contains the basic information for staffing the position.

This manual outlines the steps for writing a Position Description. It is important that the Description provide the information needed to define and assess the:

  • nature and scope of the work to be performed, within the context of the organization's mandate to achieve public good outcomes and business results for Canadians,
  • the degree of risk associated with the decisions made by the position,
  • environmental and working conditions under which the end results are expected to be achieved , and
  • core competencies required to achieve the results expected of the position.

These elements of work are evaluated under four factors in the Position Evaluation Plan for Chief Executive Officers of Crown Corporations.

Know-How

Refers to the sum total of the knowledge and skills required by the Position to achieve the results that are associated with the organization's mandate and mission - it has two components:

  • depth and variety of specialized knowledge of the organization's business lines, policy direction, stakeholders and clients; and
  • the managerial skills required to lead, co-ordinate, manage, integrate strategic policy directions and commercial issues.

Problem Solving

Refers to the degree that self-starting, original thinking is required to address issues, make decisions and exercise judgement - it has two components:

  • the thinking environment which considers the diversity and degree of clarity or lack thereof with respect to the policy and commercial elements that must be brought into the thinking  process; and
  • the degree of mental effort that is required to identify, define, evaluate and resolve policy and business issues.

Accountability

Refers to the exercise of decision making authority - it consists of two components:

  • the opportunity for activity or thought and the degree of risk associated with decisions made by the incumbent; and
  • the level of influence and the extent of the impact of the decisions made by the position.

Environmental and Working Conditions

Contextual information based on such indices as: working environment, travel demands, sensory attention, physical effort, and/or mental pressures.

Core Competencies

The core behaviours are those which must be demonstrated in achieving the results for which the position is accountable. There are five (5) core competencies that have been identified for the Chief Executive Officer role in Crown corporations:

  • Conceptual Innovative Thinking,
  • Leadership,
  • Flexibility,
  • Impact and Influence, and
  • Listening, Understanding and Responding.

The Position Description brings together critical factors that make up work - what needs to be done is linked with the core competencies that are required to successfully achieve the objectives and results established for the position. In this way, the work is viewed by the evaluator in a holistic manner. The Description facilitates both the analysis and the evaluation of the work and the staffing of the position.

Over time, work changes. This means that the Position Description will have to be periodically updated. While there is no quick or easy route to writing a good Position Description, this manual contains some approaches and tips that can assist the writer in completing the task more easily and more effectively. The primary demand is clear thinking about the job. Once the accountabilities and the roles of the position have been clearly identified, it is usually less difficult to complete the Description.

A quick checklist of the information the Description should cover is included in Appendix A. A model Position Description is included in Appendix B. A template for completing all the sections of the Position Description, including a brief description of each section, is included in Appendix C.

Section Two — Building the Position Description

Step One: Gathering the Job Information

First there is a need to gather information about:

  • the major responsibilities of the job for achieving core business results and public policy outcomes;
  • the key result areas involved in carrying out those responsibilities;
  • where the job fits in the organization;
  • the dimensions of the job (in numerical terms);
  • the major challenges of the job, in managing the risks associated with accomplishing the organization's mandate;
  • initiatives related to the organization's core business activities and the percentage of effort of the total business activities that each of the core business lines represents;
  • funding that is derived from appropriations and revenues generated by the organization;
  • any special circumstances which may affect the job; and
  • the behaviours that are demonstrated in meeting the challenges of the job.

Then there is a need to arrange this information under the titles of:

  • Position Identification
  • General Accountability
  • Organizational Structure
  • Nature and Scope
  • Dimensions
  • Specific Accountabilities
  • Environmental and Working Conditions
  • Core Competencies

Note: Careful preparation and organization will make the task easier. Appendix A provides a quick checklist of the questions that should be covered. It is important to focus on and select the highest levels of accountabilities and behaviours for inclusion in the Description.

Step Two: Identifying the Job

The easiest place to begin is by filling in the identification information:

  • Position: The official title of the position
  • Organization: The official name of the Crown Corporation
  • Location: The geographical location of the position
  • Description Date: The day, month and year the Position Description is completed

Step Three: General Accountability Statement

This section provides a brief but specific statement of why the position exists.

The statement should give the reader an immediate impression of the primary purpose for including the job in the organization. The statement should be one sentence in length and should clearly distinguish the fundamental orientation of the job.

It is important to concentrate on what the job is essentially accountable for, not to write a detailed summary of the Position's roles and responsibilities.

For example, the General Accountability Statement for the Model Position Description states that the Position:

Is accountable for providing strategic guidance, oversight and leadership for the effective stewardship of the resources and assets of the national ports system in support of the government's socio-economic agenda by ensuring that the Corporation has the capacity to fulfill its role as an effective instrument of support in the achievement of national, regional and local economic and social objectives.

Notice how the Statement gives prominence to the result to be achieved, not on any specific duty or task. Short statements are much more effective in capturing the essential purpose of the job. Careful thought should always be given to the General Accountability Statement because it sets the context for the rest of the Description.

Step Four: Organization Structure

This section identifies the Reporting Relationships of the position.

The position's location within the hierarchy is shown:

  • who the position reports to; and
  • subordinate staff as direct reports to the position.

Step Five: Nature and Scope

This section provides a clear, concise overview of the organization's core business elements and policy outcomes that represent a significant challenge for the position and the priority issues or initiatives that form part of these challenges.

The intent is to provide insights into the organization's business and policy areas rather than managerial challenges such as resource constraints that are part of the challenge of every senior executive.

This section should provide a clear, concise overview of the work performed by the position.

This information should be organised around three principal themes: organizational context; public policy issues; and business issues. Each is defined below.

  • Organizational Context:
    • The legislative framework, the nature of the organization's mandate and business lines; and
    • The environment in which the job exists.
  • Public Policy Issues:
    • The nature of the critical issues that the position must address as an instrument of public policy.
  • Business Issues:
    • The nature of the critical issues that the position must address as an entity.

Within these three broad themes, information should indicate:

  • unique economic, constitutional, environmental, policy or technological aspects of the position;
  • authorities that the position has for acting under the relevant legislation;
  • functions performed by the incumbent as distinguished from those performed through subordinates or together with others;
  • significant managerial and technical challenges of the job;
  • two or three priority core business and policy elements of the job that represent a significant challenge for the incumbent, or the priority issues or initiatives that form part of the leadership challenges for the job - the intent is to provide insights into program areas rather than managerial challenges such as resource constraints that are part of the challenge of most organizations;
  • the level of effort dedicated to each of the business lines, expressed as a percentage of the global level of effort of all business activities;
  • the nature and source of controls on the job; specify what (if anything) must be referred to the Board or the Minister for resolution or approval;
  • most significant internal and external contacts of the position (including the frequency and purpose of these contacts); include information about the types of problems the incumbent of the job must consult with others, the committees of which the incumbent is a member and the organizations of which the incumbent must be a member because of the job.

Step Six: Dimensions of the Job

This section records the measurable areas upon which the position has either direct or indirect impact.

A number of items could be included in this area. For instance:

  • the number of people supervised (measured in full time equivalents);
  • the annual payroll of those supervised;
  • the annual operating expenses of the organization;
  • the cost of materials purchased or used (annually);
  • various assets controlled or affected;
  • source of funding presented as two separate lines: appropriations and revenues; and
  • any other significant dollar or other values which are measurable on an annual basis.

The evaluation method does not put an inordinate emphasis on “numbers”. However, figures should be provided for as many items as are appropriate (probably 2 to 4 items), in order to give the most complete picture of the job.

For example, in the Model Description, the number of employees, the operating budget of the organization, the amount of appropriations and revenues are given as possible numeric indicators to reflect the scope of the position's impact.

Step Seven: Specific Accountabilities

This section defines the critical end results and policy outcomes expected of the incumbent.

The difference between this section and the General Accountability Section is that the latter describes why the job exists in general. This section specifies the important end results which must be accomplished (and implies how, and how well, those end results are to be achieved).

Notice that a Specific Accountability statement is not a listing of activities and duties, but rather a broad statement of what the job is actually expected to accomplish.

Notice in the example drawn from the Specific Accountabilities of the Model Position Description, the end to which all of the activities are directed is clearly stated. Notice how the first Specific Accountability is concerned with the executive leadership that the position provides for the organization:

Provides executive leadership in developing and executing a corporate vision and corporate strategic objectives and policies for Board approval to enable the Corporation's commercial viability and its ability to meet the government's socio-economic policy agenda.

Each statement should:

  • start with an action verb;
  • state an end result; and
  • define the ways in which the end result or policy outcome is to be achieved or the means to be used.

Usually it takes a list of four to seven separate statements to cover a single job. Unfortunately, there is no simple rule for deciding how to split the job's accountabilities into separate statements.

The specific accountabilities of the job should be listed in the order of their importance, so as to provide a relative degree of emphasis for each.

Notice that the managerial leadership provided by the position is lower down in the list of Specific Accountabilities for the Model Position Description.

Ensures the effective stewardship of the Corporation's financial and non-financial resources, including the management, control and reporting on human, financial, information, materiel resources and facilities.

This does not mean that the managerial leadership that is expected of the position is negligible, but that elements of executive leadership that the position is called upon to demonstrate are more important. This is a position that is recognized primarily for the operational and managerial value-added.

Step Eight: Environmental and Working Conditions

This section provides information on the effect the environment has on the achievement of end results and policy outcomes for the position. It is important in considering the environmental and working conditions to remember that it is assumed that all appropriate measures have been taken to eliminate or minimize undesirable working conditions - what remains is unavoidable which increase risk of such things as deadlines, media scrutiny, etc.

It is also important to remember to select and describe those elements of the environment or work that, because of the nature of the job, are distinguished by some degree or combination of intensity, frequency and duration, i.e. it is important to note those elements of the environment or the work that are recurring, and/or must be endured over a significant period of time.

The elements of the Environmental and Working Conditions section are defined as follows:

  • Pressures - the degree of exposure to factors inherent in performing the job which increase risk of such things as tension and anxiety.
  • Sensory Attention - the level of attention (i.e., seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching) required during the work process.
  • Demands - the physical effort and/or strain on the standard jobholder in performing the job to the required standard and any unfavourable environmental conditions to which the jobholder is necessarily exposed in order to perform the job to the required standard.

In the Model Position Description, pressures are seen to stem from the requirement to balance the interests and concerns of a broad range of national and local communities of interest in order to determine the course of action which provides the best results for Canadians; for sensory attention from the requirement to employ a combination of sense while engaged in negotiations; for demands from the requirement to travel to the different ports managed by the Corporation.

Each job has some combination of these elements, the consideration in identifying the ones for the position in question is the effect that they have on achieving the results that are expected of the position.

Step Nine: Core Competencies

This section provides contextual information on behaviours that must be demonstrated in achieving the results or policy outcomes for which the position is accountable. These behaviours are demonstrated in the following core competencies:

  • Conceptual Innovative Thinking - the ability to understand a situation or problem by identifying patterns or connections, and addressing key underlying issues. Conceptual thinking includes organizing the parts of an issue or situation in a systematic way that leads to an innovative approach to problem solving. It includes the ability to “think outside the box”, to go beyond the conventional, and a willingness to try out different solutions.
  • Leadership - the ability to perform as a leader of a team or other group, and to mobilize people to work toward a shared purpose in the best interests of the organization, the shareholder and the Canadian public in general. It is energizing and alerting individuals or groups to the need for specific changes in the way things are done, and involves taking responsibility for championing the change effort through building and maintaining support and commitment. Leadership can be broadly understood as formal or informal.
  • Flexibility - the ability to adapt and work effectively within a variety of situations, and with various individuals or groups. Flexibility implies understanding and appreciating different and opposing perspectives on an issue, adapting one's approach as the requirements of a situation change, and changing and incorporating the changes in one's work.
  • Impact and Influence - the awareness of how organizational issues, policies and decisions impact public interest/concerns, as well as being sensitive to the differing needs/agendas of multiple stakeholders. It is also acting to persuade effectively, convince or influence others in order to have a specific impact or effect.
  • Listening, Understanding and Responding - acting to understand other people or situations. It involves hearing and understanding not only spoken or written information, but also unspoken or partly expressed thoughts, feelings and concerns of others and responding appropriately and effectively. It measures increasing complexity and depth of understanding of others, and may include cross-cultural sensitivity.

Section Three — Review Checks

A checklist of questions that should be covered in the Position Description is provided in Appendix A. The Description that has been written should be checked to make sure all the items have been covered.

Another way to check the Position Description is to look for the most common job description errors:

  • General Mistakes
    1. The Description is too long, with too many details on tasks, many of which are irrelevant.
    2. The Description does not focus on results and policy outcomes, and, therefore, fails to capture the essence of the job.
    3. There is an incorrect emphasis on minor aspects of the job.
    4. There are incomplete facts.
  • General Accountability Mistakes
    1. A summary of duties is presented, rather than a statement of the primary purpose of the job.
    2. There is a lengthy, detailed list of activities taking 5 to 10 lines. The statement should not exceed 5 lines.
  • Organizational Structure Mistakes
    1. Organizational relationships (upwards or downwards) are confusing or incomplete.
  • Nature and Scope Mistakes
    1. There is an emphasis on elements of the position that are common to similar positions in other organizations such as the lack of resources.
    2. Initiatives are of a short term nature or do not indicate the fundamental changes in the way of doing business that are the intended result of the initiative.
    3. Issues are limited in scope and do not bring out the broader, longer term implications of the issues.
    4. Public policy component of the job has been overlooked.
  • Dimensions Mistakes
    1. There is an effort to be too precise. In most cases, approximate figures or data are enough.
    2. Too many dimensions are given. Three or four are usually enough.
    3. The dimensions are not related to the actual accountabilities or the nature and scope of the job as it has been described.
  • Specific Accountability Mistakes
    1. Activities or duties are listed, rather than major end results or policy outcomes.
    2. The relationship between the end result or policy outcome and the “how” is tenuous.
    3. One Specific Accountability statement covers several end results to the extent that it encompasses as much as 70% of all that is expected of the job.
    4. The end result, policy outcome or the means are worded too generally to be meaningful.
  • Environmental and Working Conditions Mistakes

    Conditions that are described can be mitigated by some intervention or changes in the work environment, such as the office being too hot, too cold, etc.

    The nature of the condition is transitory and does not represent an on-going element of the work.
  • Core Competency Mistakes
    1. The examples provided do not provide a meaningful demonstration of the behaviour in question.

Appendix A — Information Gathering Checklist

Major Responsibilities

  1. What is the overall purpose of the job?
  2. What are the major responsibilities the job is intended to achieve?
  3. Which are the most time-consuming?

Public Policy Responsibilities

  1. What is the incumbent's role in administering the legislation or mandate?
  2. What is the incumbent's role in formulating, recommending or implementing public policy?

Business Responsibilities

  1. What are the organization's core/ancillary business lines?
  2. What is the business context – growth, stability or divestment?

Authority

  1. What are the most important decisions the incumbent makes?
  2. About what does the incumbent require authorization from the Board and/or the Minister before taking action?
  3. What are the most important recommendations the incumbent makes to the Board?
  4. What other responsibilities does the incumbent have that may not usually be associated with such a position?

Relations with Others

  1. To whom does the position report?
  2. What aspects of the environment surrounding the job make it more difficult to accomplish its objectives?
  3. What subordinates report to the position?
  4. What is the nature of the position's relationships with the Minister's office and the private sector both nationally and internationally?

Hardest Part of the Job

  1. What are the major headaches?
  2. What is the greatest challenge?
  3. What are the most complex problems?
  4. What initiatives is the incumbent called upon to initiate?

Statistics on Job Dimensions

  1. What are the approximate numerical values of the items which help to explain the overall size of your job?

Environmental and Working Conditions

  1. What element of the job cannot be changed to mitigate the conditions?
  2. What sensitivities must the incumbent be aware of and incorporate into the work?
  3. Are the conditions temporary or permanent?

Core Competencies

  1. What issues does the incumbent have to deal with in an innovative manner?
  2. What is the incumbent's role in leading the corporation, e.g. rebuild, maintain or reduce?
  3. What are the different kinds of situations which the incumbent is called upon to react to or incorporate in his/her work?
  4. What non-verbal messages does the incumbent have to respond to in his/her work?

Appendix B — Model Position Description


  • Job Title: President and Chief Executive Officer
  • Organization: Canada Ports Corporation
  • Location: National Capital Region
  • Description Date: January 1, 1988

General Accountability Section

Is accountable for providing strategic guidance, oversight and leadership for the effective stewardship of the resources and assets of the national ports system in support of the government's socio-economic agenda by ensuring that the Corporation has the capacity to fulfill its role as an effective instrument of support in the achievement of national, regional and local economic and social objectives.

Organization Structure

The President and Chief Executive Officer reports to the Chairperson and the Board of Directors of the Canada Ports Corporation.

Reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer are;

  • Executive Vice-President
  • Vice-President, Finance and Administration
  • Vice-President, Legal and Realty
  • Director General, Police and Security
  • Director General, Information and Communications

Nature and Scope

The Canada Ports Corporation Act created the Canada Ports Corporation to establish a balance between the need for ports to operate within a national framework and the need to ensure responsiveness to local conditions.

The Corporation is governed by a board of directors composed of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, president and chief executive officer and not less than 8 or more than 14 other directors. With the exception of the President and CEO, all are part-time members. The directors represent the national, regional interests essential to port activities.

The Corporation manages the ports at a number of locations in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba that are not managed by Local Port Authorities. These ports are located in Belledune, Sept-Iles, Chicoutimi/Baie des Ha! Ha!, Prescott, Port Colbourne and Churchill.

The Canada Ports Corporation operates in a private industry environment which means that the Corporation has to develop and execute a strategy in order to: generate revenue to finance capital investments; ensure the profitability of investments; make good business and strategic planning; develop productivity which necessitates creativity, imagination, leadership, good administration and business judgement to secure investments.

It is in this context that the President and Chief Executive Officer provides corporate leadership for the management of the Corporation's resources and assets and the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations in meeting its mandated objectives. In meeting this challenge, the incumbent ensures that the Corporation has in place the appropriate governance and management structures, policies and processes. Subject to the approval of the Board of Directors, the incumbent acts as a member of the Board of Directors and acquired affiliated companies in port operations.

The President and CEO is responsible for ensuring that the Corporation has in place the strategies, approaches, programs and systems to attract and retain the appropriate level and mix of managerial, professional and administrative skills to maintain effective control of operations and protect information and assets.

The President and CEO oversees the development and approval of strategic plans and resourcing strategies that are consistent with the Corporation's business and public policy needs, ensuring that the appropriate resource management infrastructure and systems are in place to enable the Board to control and report on the management of resources in a manner that is consistent with resource management practices that are prevalent in the federal public service.

The President and CEO directs the preparation and review of annual business plans, budgets and reports of the Corporation prior to submitting them to the Board. The incumbent directs the management of financial programs and resources to provide the Corporation with the funds necessary to support current operations, expansions, acquisitions, and other capital requirements.

The President and CEO plans and directs all investigations and negotiations pertaining to joint ventures, the acquisitions of businesses, or the sale of major assets. The incumbent directs the staff in very complex business negotiations with industries and other business transactions which represent a significant investment of funds. The incumbent lead the negotiations for an agreement with a group of coal companies for the design, construction and operation of a new coal terminal which was financed on the private market.

The President and CEO is responsible for the marketing of the port system and the responsibility to keep it efficient and competitive. The Corporation does not offer a monopolistic service to Canadian shippers. In most cases and particularly in regards to export and imports of manufactured goods the Canadian shipper has more than one option at his disposal and consequently can ship either through an American port or a non-CPC Canadian port.

The President and CEO directs the provision of law enforcement and security for the port system and is responsible for the management of the Ports Canada Police force. The incumbent is also responsible for emergency measures and national security.

The President and CEO ensures the adequacy and proper utilization of the services provided by the corporate staff units and resolves any conflicts arising between operating groups, staff units, and other elements under his immediate supervision. The incumbent keeps the Minister informed of all significant activities of the Board; particularly those with political ramifications. The thrust on potential political problems is to be proactive rather than reactive.

The President and CEO recommends the approval of contracts for work involving amounts up to 10 million dollars to the Board of Directors, subject to the receipt of at least two bids and the choice of the lowest acceptable bidder. The incumbent recommends the approval by the Board of Directors, subject to the receipt of at least two bids and the choice of a foreign company as the lowest acceptable bidder. The incumbent recommends approval by the Board of port leases up to 20 years without restriction on the rental amount.

The President and CEO represents the company as appropriate in its relationships with major customers, suppliers, competitors, commercial and investment bankers, government agencies, professional societies and similar group.

Dimensions

Staff: 1,800 Employees
Operating Budget $187 Million
Capital Budget  $130  Million
Fixed Assets    $878  Million at cost
CPC Funding: Appropriations $74.8 Million
CPC Funding: Revenue  $143.2 Million

Specific Accountabilities

  1. Provides executive leadership in the development and execution of a corporate vision and corporate strategic objectives and policies for Board approval to enable the Corporation's commercial viability and its ability to meet the government's socio-economic policy agenda.
  2. Ensures that corporate policies and strategies are uniformly understood and properly interpreted and-administered by his/her subordinates; reviews and approves proposed internal policies of subordinate units.
  3. Ensures the effective stewardship of the Corporation's financial and non-financial resources, including the management, control and reporting on human, financial, information, materiel resources and facilities.
  4. Directs the preparation and review of annual business plans and budgets of the Corporation to provide the Corporation with the funds necessary to support current operations, expansions, acquisitions, and other capital requirements; in cases of pressing emergency, authorizes emergency corrective actions and reports immediately to the Board.
  5. Directs the provision of law enforcement and security for the port system and is responsible for the management of the Ports Canada Police force. Is also responsible for emergency measures and national security.
  6. Directs the planning, development and execution of marketing plans, strategies and initiatives to enhance the Corporation's position as a supplier of choice to the Canadian and international shipping communities.
  7. Ensures the adequacy and proper utilization of the services provided by the corporate staff units and resolves any conflicts arising between operating groups, staff units, and other elements under his immediate supervision.
  8. Represents the company as appropriate in its relationships with major customers, suppliers, competitors, commercial and investment bankers, government agencies, professional societies and similar group.

Environmental and Working Conditions

  1. Pressures - The work is performed in an environment where there are significant pressures from a variety of communities of interest which are often conflicting. The incumbent must deal with issues raised by senior officials of shipping companies whose interest is in primarily containing costs and those raised by representatives of local governments whose interest is in retaining well-paying jobs in their community. The incumbent must address the policy concerns raised by these issues while ensuring the Corporation's financial viability of the Corporation.  Decisions made by the incumbent are often subject to extensive public scrutiny. There are significant time-pressures on the finalization of business-oriented arrangements e.g. multi-million dollar construction contracts; long-term leases, etc.
  2. Sensory Attention - This job involves is a significant degree of sensory attention in assessing complex documents, submissions, both orally and in written form, such as long term development plans, proposals and complex financial analyses, as well as negotiating contracts and agreements with third parties.
  3. Demands - This job involves a considerable degree of travel to the Corporation's various operational locations. While this travel is primarily scheduled, there are situations that may arise which require the incumbent's immediate presence. There are frequent meetings and events out of core hours, including contract negotiations, media interviews, public meetings, conferences and networking with representatives of local and national business communities.

Core Competencies

  1. Conceptual / Innovative Thinking - The incumbent must find innovative and factual solutions based on analysis, interpretation and evolution of data and other information provided in order to address real or potential situations requiring action and advice. The incumbent must develop  long term strategies and initiatives based on an accurate assessment of the impacts on the organization of changes with respect to a number of variables such as the global economy, markets, and shipping regulations and practices.
  2. Leadership - The incumbent must display intellectual and strategic leadership in establishing the direction of the Corporation in promoting national, region and local economies in developing, negotiating and implementing innovative joint ventures between the Corporation and the private sector, without losing sight of the public policy issues.
  3. Flexibility - The incumbent faces the challenge of ensuring that the Corporation has the capacity to respond to the government's socio-economic policy agenda, while maintaining the corporation as a viable commercial enterprise.
  4. Impact and Influence - This competency is demonstrated by the strategies that the incumbent must develop and contacts that the incumbent must make to focus the attention of policy makers and the shipping community on critical issues facing the management of a national system of ports.
  5. Listening, Understanding and Responding - The incumbent must be able to identify both verbal and non-verbal cues during negotiations to obtain a true reading of the position of potential partners and be able to navigate, with the aid of these signs, towards the acceptance of the Corporation's position. The incumbent consults regularly with senior federal and provincial officials, representatives of the export and shipping communities, labour, international organizations and non-governmental business improvement and environmental organizations, and must be able to absorb and address the many opposing views presented by these groups in order to ensure that the Corporation's positions are marked by balance and thoroughness.

Appendix C — Position Description Template

Position Description


  • Job Title:
  • Location:
  • Organization:
  • Description Date:

General Accountability

This is meant to provide a ‘big picture' preview of the job by focusing on the general key end results of the job (e.g.: product developed; service provided). It provides a frame-of-reference for the ‘audience' and should answer in broad terms, “why does the job exist” and, “what is it meant to accomplish”.

Organization Structure

This section is meant to provide the audience with an organization chart-like appreciation for where the job exists and in what context work gets done. An organization chart may replace this section.

Nature and Scope

This section is designed to provide the opportunity to indicate any high level issues and challenges that the position faces in the achievement of the results that are expected of the position.

This section also provides the opportunity to indicate any specific initiatives that the position is called upon to undertake.

Dimensions

In many jobs, quantitative measures or business statistics provide relevant information from which to assess the impact of a job (e.g. revenues, budgets, employees, etc.). This data should be both organization and job-specific and provide the audience with “how big / how small” answers.

Specific Accountabilities

Within the ‘big picture', there are usually a number of ‘scenes' that provide a more specific portrayal of the job. 

Rather than focus on duties and activities, these too should provide the audience with information regarding key end results.

In breaking the job down into component parts, the focus should be on such areas as, functional accountability (e.g.: in human resources - training and development; in marketing - product planning and promotion), or, organization accountability (e.g.: strategy development, process implementation, etc.).

The list of specific “key result or policy outcome areas” is to be organised in descending order of importance.

The number of these key accountabilities should range between six or seven. In any case, they should not exceed ten.

Environmental and Working Conditions

This section should provide contextual information based on such indices as: working environment, travel demands, sensory attention, physical effort, and/or mental pressures.

  1. Pressures – This sub-factor involves the degree of exposure to factors inherent in performing the job, which increase risk of such things as tension or anxiety, as described on page 14.
  2. Sensory Attention – This sub-factor involves the level of sensory attention (i.e. seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and touching) required during the work process. See page 14 for details.
  3. Demands – This sub-factor involves the physical effort and/or strain on the standard jobholder in performing the job to the required standard and any unfavourable environmental conditions to which the jobholder is necessarily exposed in order to perform the job to the required standard. Please refer to page 14 for details.

Competencies

This section should provide contextual information based on behaviours that must be demonstrated in achieving the results for which the position is accountable. These behaviours are demonstrated in the following competencies:

  1. Conceptual / Innovative Thinking - This competency involves the ability to understand a situation or problem by identifying patterns or connections, and addressing key underlying issues. Conceptual thinking includes organizing the parts of an issue or situation in a systematic way that leads to an innovative approach to problem solving. It includes the ability to “think outside the box”, to go beyond the conventional, and a willingness to try out different solutions.
  2. Leadership - This Competency is the ability to perform as a leader of a team or other group, and to mobilize people to work toward a shared purpose in the best interests of the organization. It is energizing and alerting individuals or groups to the need for specific changes in the way things are done, and involves taking responsibility for championing the change effort through building and maintaining support and commitment. Leadership can be broadly understood as formal or informal.
  3. Flexibility - This Competency involves the ability to adapt and work effectively within a variety of situations, and with various individuals or groups. Flexibility implies understanding and appreciating different and opposing perspectives on an issue, adapting one's approach as the requirements of a situation change, and changing and incorporating the changes in one's work.  
  4. Impact and Influence - This Competency involves the awareness of how organizational issues, policies and decisions impact public interest/concerns, as well as being sensitive to the differing needs/agendas of multiple stakeholders. It is also acting to persuade effectively, convince or influence others in order to have a specific impact or effect.
  5. Listening, Understanding and Responding - This Competency involves acting to understand other people or situations. It involves accurately hearing and understanding not only spoken or written information, but also unspoken or partly expressed thoughts, feelings, and concerns of others and responding appropriately and effectively. It measures increasing complexity and depth of understanding of others, and may include cross-cultural sensitivity.