Is your organization getting everything it needs from its board? If you don’t think so, or even if you do, it’s time to start doing a board assessment.
A board assessment’s aim is to evaluate the performance of the board as a whole. Its purpose is to evaluate the effectiveness of the board in fulfilling its governance duties to a variety of areas. In his book “Making a Difference, Howard Berman defines these areas as:
- Assuring the enterprise’s pursuit of its purpose;
- Approving policy and strategy;
- Monitoring performance processes and results;
- Adding value to the organization; and,
- Assuring continuous improvement in the performance of management and the board.
Berman wrote that any good board assessment should also include an analysis of processes, structures, and outcomes. A process assessment looks at what the board does and how it works. A structure assessment considers “things,” as opposed to activities. This can include, for example:
- A forward agenda;
- A conflict of interest policy and program;
- A code of conduct;
- Adequate meeting facilities;
- Regular executive sessions; and,
- Regular chief executive communications.
Finally, Berman provides examples for analyzing objective factors. Did the board or a designated committee:
- Review and approve the enterprise’s strategy and operating plan;
- Monitor actual performance against operating plan objectives;
- Conduct an annual chief executive performance assessment;
- Review and approve conflict of interest declarations;
- Meet with the independent auditors; and,
- Review and approve the code of conduct?