Does your board of directors periodically practice board self-evaluation?
If it doesn’t, it should.
Self-evaluation is a great way to maintain board awareness around its responsibilities as a board member and the potential need for changes on the board level. It is a great way to check in with each member and to learn about their experiences on the board.
In fact, you should be sitting down with your board members at least once per year to meet with the board member, CEO and board chair. This is when you should conduct this self-assessment and discussion. If you are not meeting each year, start. It is that simple. It is that important.
These self-evaluation results should be reviewed by a committee of trustees and used as the basis for planning a retreat or a planning session. Perhaps this is a function of the board governance committee or your board development committee. Perhaps you don’t have a committee like that. Create one.
Check in with your board members, meet with them.
All of this starts from the top.
It is the board chair and the CEO or executive director that must set not only the standards, but the style and tone of the board.
Board members must be continually listened to, nurtured, and encouraged.
One way of doing this is through the board self-assessment process.
It is important that once you do set expectations for your board that you do something about it – assess them towards progress made. Are they meeting expectations? Do you they feel that the board is highly functioning? Does the board have the structures in place to do its work?
Troubleshooting both the board as a collective and individual board members is critical.
You can then use this information to build a better, stronger board. You can use this information to “thank and release” other board members for not meeting expectations. You can use this information to address strategic issues both internally and externally.
I once heard it said “capable board members are not born they are made.”
It is important that we make the board the best functioning that it can be through looking at what they are and what they can be.
Self-assessment of the board is one of the first natural places to start.
We all want to be heard including our board members.