When he was mayor of New York City, Ed Koch would rhetorically ask, “How’m I doin’?”
Executives and board members at nonprofits should be asking that question regularly, or at least when annual performance reviews are coming up.
In “Evaluating Your Executive: New Approaches, New Purposes,” published by The Academy of Leadership & Governance in Columbus, Ohio, Donn F. Vickers and Kelly Stevelt Kaser warn of 10 mistakes that can easily undermine the good intentions and hard work of evaluations:
- The board communicates that evaluation is not important by failing to initiate the process or take it seriously.
- Expectations are not clear and/or agreed upon.
- Too little time is allocated to do the process thoughtfully.
- The wrong people get involved, either those who have an axe to grind or who are not representative of the majority point of view of the board.
- The evaluation committee plays boss and reinforces a power-focused, hierarchical way of thinking.
- Contextual issues are not taken into consideration, such as life stage of the organization or significant forces in the environment.
- The ratio between talking and listening is skewed greatly toward talking.
- The ratio between asking good questions and making opinion-heavy statements is skewed greatly toward the latter.
- There is a lack of discipline about sticking to the agreed-upon evaluation process.
- The follow-up discussion and tracking were weak or nonexistent.