Taking time once a year to review how effectively the board is achieving in its key tasks can be very worthwhile. The review can be led by an outside consultant, or managed internally through a structured discussion.
Board evaluations are an opportunity to check that the board is fully on track, and to see if there are opportunities for change that could give better results.
The NZ Institute of Directors have an online board appraisal system for evaluating a board's performance and isolating areas for change or development. Questionnaires available are:
- Board - examines the board's processes, outputs and behaviours as a team
- Chair - examines the chair's skills and performance and opportunities for development in the role
- Director - examines the individual directors' skills and performance and opportunities for development
- Chief Executive - the board evaluates the chief executive against key criteria.
Questionnaires can be tailored to specific types of organisations, e.g. not-for-profit. More information on BetterBoards can be found on the Institute of Directors in NZ website.
As part of evaluating their own performance, boards may consider:
- The state of relationships with owners, beneficiaries and other stakeholders
- How well the strategic plan is linked to the work within the organisation
- How well the key indicators and reporting processes have helped the board in its monitoring role
- Whether all legal requirements have been met
- Staff satisfaction
- Board discussions: are they well-informed and well-run? Are they about the most important things?
- Committees: are they working as they should and do they have the right relationship with the rest of the board?
- Whether directors/trustees feel their skills are used and their contribution is valued
- How the chair is performing in his/her role?
- The quality of the relationship between the board and management