Board Self-Assessment – Are You Afraid of What you Might Find?

I remember a time when a visit to the dentist was a piece of cake. I knew that I could expect a brief examination, followed by praise for having zero cavities, a new toothbrush, and a mouth with that minty, “just came from the dentist” feel. However, as I got older and my excellent habits became just “so-so,” I began to avoid the dentist, only going when there was a problem. I was too afraid of what she might find.

Just as avoiding the dentist was not good for my pearly whites, avoiding a periodic assessment of your board’s performance is not good for the health of your Board of Directors. A good board self-assessment can help ensure that the board understands its role as a board. It also gives board members an opportunity to reflect on their service on the board as individuals. Most organizations recognize the benefits of assessment of employees and would not dare skip performance reviews for staff. The Standards for Excellence® code encourages the Board of Directors  to follow suit. The code specifically states that the board is responsible for its own operations, including the periodic (i.e., at least every two years) evaluation of its own performance.  After all, the board deserves to be recognized for its strengths, and given an opportunity to acknowledge and improve its weaknesses.

Did You Know? The Standards for Excellence® Educational Resource Packet, Conduct of the Board,” includes a discussion on board self-assessment and a sample Board Self Assessment that you can customize for your Board of Directors. This packet is free and available to Standards for Excellence Institute® members through the members only section of our website. Hard copies are also available upon request. Not a member? Join now!

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