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How to Conduct a Board Self-Assessment

Board Self-Assessment is an essential board function that offers an ideal platform for analyzing and discussing the strengths and weaknesses of governance. It allows the board to step back and candidly assess its own effectiveness, which in turn leads to effective governance improvements.

Time, planning, and the involvement of board members are essential to create a successful board evaluation process. The first step is determining the scope of the evaluation. It could be the entire board, committees or individual directors. A well-designed plan will define the evaluation method. Surveys, interviews or facilitated discussion are common methodologies. Once the extent of the evaluation and the methodological approach have been identified the next step is to create and distribute questionnaires.

Some boards choose to conduct the assessment in-house while others engage an outside consultant. A third party consultant can help ensure an impartial and thorough analysis, which is vital when you don’t have the time or resources to conduct the test yourself.

It is essential that board members assess themselves. However it is equally crucial that nonprofit boards focus on the entire group. It is easy for nonprofit board members and their facilitators to become engrossed in evaluating individual actions and not pay attention to the board as a whole.

A successful self-assessment is able to help boards clarify expectations, discover deficiencies in the composition of the board, align board knowledge with organizational strategy, address concerns of investors about turnover and diversity, and increase the efficiency of their board practices and procedures. In their proxy statements, public companies report the results of their board’s evaluations.

Board Self Evaluation

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