Effective boards set goals and work to achieve them. The best, top-performing boards execute an annual self-assessment of their performance. This is the time of year to evaluate how your board performed in 2018. To conduct a proper self-assessment each board should take the following five steps.
The self-assessment is a simple performance evaluation survey which requests answers ranging from “strongly disagree “to “strongly agree” with three levels of moderation in between (“disagree, neutral, and agree”). This evaluation will yield the performance evaluation as a measure of results from one to five.
More detailed guidance for board self-assessment can be found in the NCA’s Board Toolkit (available to all members as a benefit of membership).
Step One – Evaluate Board Structure
This section of the assessment explores how well the board does its business. Questions address issues of board organization, committee engagement and performance, and resources such as time allocation and staff support.
Questions in this step include the following:
- The board has the right number of members.
- The board has the right number of meetings.
- There is adequate time in board meetings to address matters of importance.
- Board meetings efficiently use time and human resources.
- The board has adequate indemnification and D&O insurance coverage.
- Board committees are constructive to effective club governance.
- Committees have the right number of members.
- Committee reports are timely submitted and require the proper amount of board review.
- Committee assignments and charters reflect the best advice of the board.
- Committee performance is right for the club’s current needs.
Step Two – Evaluate Board Information
The following types of questions validate the quality and use of information going to the board:
- The club’s Board Policy Manual adequately communicates the duties and expectations of individual board members.
- The board benefits from adequate pre-read time, information and materials to enable it to be effective.
- Information provided the board is fully vetted and applicable to current and emerging conditions at the club.
- Presentations by officers and staff are accurate and unbiased.
- The board has adequate access to internal and external advisors (e.g., auditor, legal and risk management) to make informed decisions.
Step Three – Evaluate Board Dynamics
The following questions assess the dynamics or growth and changes exhibited by the board:
- The board addresses the right issues for the club.
- The board does what is right.
- The board clearly and timely communicates goals, objectives and results tithe members.
- The board properly balances its guidance and supervision of the general manager.
- The board promotes a culture of accountability at all levels of club governance.
Step Four – Individual Self-Assessment
Every board member must be accountable for his or her own work as a servant leader. Questions that help to evaluate individual board member performance include:
- Engages in the board’s work.
- Understands the club’s strategy and strategic issues.
- Evaluates and fully understands club budgets.
- Understands and closely monitors the club’s financial performance.
- Respects the confidentiality of the board room in all matters.
Step Five – Board Communications
Members expect to know what the board is doing and what matters are being addressed. Poor communication is one of the most frequently stated points of member dissatisfaction with club boards.
Communicate the board’s self-assessment and a composite assessment to the entire club membership. Show the questions that were asked and the performance ratings that the board assigned to its own performance (not the individual scores). Candid and genuine self-assessment of the board’s performance will build trust at the club.
Self-assessment is a form of the personal accountability that members expect of their leaders. Communicating the results openly and honestly will make the club stronger and more capable of meeting the next generation of challenges.
This piece was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for the National Club Association’s Club Director quarterly magazine.