Board Self-Assessment offers a means to analyze and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of governance. The board can take advantage of it to step back and honestly assess its own effectiveness. This will lead to better governance.

Time, planning and engagement of board members are necessary to develop an effective board evaluation process. The first step is determining the scope of the assessment. It could be the entire board, a particular committee, or a specific director. A good plan will specify the method of evaluation. Common methods include surveys interviews or guided discussions. Once the scope of the evaluation and the method of evaluation have been established the next step is to create and distribute questionnaires.

Some boards choose to conduct the assessment in-house while others enlist a third party consultant. A third-party consultant will help ensure an impartial and thorough analysis, which is essential for those who don’t have the time or resources to conduct the assessment yourself.

It is important that board members examine themselves. However, it is also important that nonprofit boards concentrate on the group. It is easy for nonprofit boards and their evaluation facilitators to get bogged down in evaluating the responses of individual members and forget to look at the board as a whole.

A successful self-assessment is able to help boards clarify their expectations for each other, uncover board meeting software gaps in the composition of boards and align the expertise of board members with the organization’s strategy and address concerns of investors about diversity and turnover, and improve the effectiveness of board procedures and practices. More and more, public companies are publishing the outcomes of their board’s assessments in their proxy statements.

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