Board evaluation tips

By Institute of Directors
1 Nov 2019
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2 min to read
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Board evaluation tips

Regular evaluation of board performance is governance best practice. These tips help you get the most from your board evaluation.

According to the IoD Code of Practice, “systematic review of the performance of individual directors (including the chair) and of the board as a whole helps address weaknesses, increases skill levels and demonstrates a commitment to accountability”.

Embrace the objective
  1. Your board wants to learn how it can perform better. It gets the most from evaluation when board members share its aim of continuous improvement.
Leadership is crucial
  1. The chair can show that evaluation needs honest feedback by volunteering to have their own performance evaluated. Board members are likely to follow their example.
Allow enough time
  • Board members need to respond to evaluation questions with thought and care. Board evaluations appraise the performance of people at the head of your organisation. They should not be rushed.
Follow the whole process
  • An evaluation looks at the board from different perspectives and stimulates thinking about how it can work better. Answer every question so it can play its part in the process.
Comment constructively
  • The process inspires thinking that you can capture in comments. These are often the most valuable evaluation response. A poor rating with suggestions for improvement can improve performance.
Take care of people
  • Individual board member evaluation reports are best handled in one-on-one discussions, usually with the chair. Don’t share or table board member reports at a board meeting.
Discuss team issues openly

Board performance can be affected by issues like the level and mix of skills, and whether the board spends time on the right business. Every board member should come prepared with a copy of the whole-board report.

Plan the discussion
  • The board needs to discuss the evaluation results fully and frankly. This should be in a dedicated session. Consider using an external adviser to lead the session.
Use the 80 20 rule
  • An engaged board may provide many suggestions for improvement. Focusing on a few will have the greatest effect. Plan actions that will make a difference. We send you a sample action plan with the evaluation reports.
Chart progress
  • Allocate responsibilities and include progress reports in your board’s agenda planning. When the board is satisfied that planned tasks have been completed, consider a further evaluation to show progress.

The Institute of Directors provides a comprehensive board evaluation service, including:

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