Evaluate individual board members to improve board performance

Most reputable companies want to comply with good corporate governance and hence, among other things, do an annual board evaluation. The national codes typically state that the effectiveness of each board member should also be evaluated. However, boards often avoid tackling this part of the evaluation because board members – like everyone else – can feel some insecurity about being personally evaluated. Also, there is uncertainty about how to carry out such a sensitive analysis.

Boards and companies should think about the idea that to get the best overall board effectiveness, each board member can benefit from becoming aware of how their strengths and contributions are perceived by the other board members and executives.

One way to get this information is to conduct individual evaluations simultaneously with the overall board evaluation.

The individual evaluation could provide an anonymized overview of how board colleagues, selected executives, and other relevant key stakeholders perceive each other’s value contribution and key strengths in a board context. It can be a very simple analysis or more advanced.

The evaluation can include a set of evaluation criteria along with open-ended questions.

The setup should be controlled so that the findings are only shared with the individual and the Chair, that no board member can see who said what about him/her, and that only the Chair has access to all individual reports.

The benefits of adding such a module to your annual evaluation are that each individual gets a better understanding of how they are perceived to create value for the board and that the board overall gets a better collective understanding of where it performs well and where it might do better.

Leadership Advisor Group has developed a special version of the individual evaluation as an extra module used in many of our board evaluations. Public discussion about diversity at the board level is usually focused only on gender and nationality, but our analysis goes deeper to cover how board members perceive each other’s personal style, areas of expertise, and ability to manage the board role effectively in relation to stakeholders. With this input, each individual gets the opportunity to see their own strengths and development areas in the context of their colleagues (in an anonymous format) and can measure their own progress over time if the module is used on an annual or regular basis. Additionally, all respondents see the aggregated average results, i.e., what this board has as a collective strength and what areas it could consider developing further.

We’d happily take you through this evaluation module if your board is interested.

Please contact us at reception@leadershipadvisorgroup.com

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Interested in self-evaluation? Try Online Board Evaluations

Well-aligned with national corporate- and foundation/charity governance recommendations, our board clients usually conduct an external board evaluation every three years. However, most national governance recommendations recommend that boards perform a self-evaluation in the years between an external board evaluation. Therefore, we have developed OnlineBoardEvaluations.com which is a tool enabling boards to self-evaluate effectively and effortlessly every year.