Our experience is that Boards are resistant to being evaluated, either internally or by external parties.
Internal Board Evaluation – there is the primary concern of drectors about confidentiality. Our concern is also the content of the evaluation which is often not effective when designed internally. Self evaluations always rate higher than impartial evaluations, this is normal, so therefore there is the risk that only comfortable questions are asked. It will be difficult to internally address the elephant in the room as it has not been addressed up until then.
External Evaluation – the emotional concern is “will I match up to expectations and scrutiny?”
Genius Methods experience provides evidence that the success of a Board Evaluation is related to the Chairman’s comfort with the exercise. Even a very successful and enlightening Board Evalaution will not engender change if this is not championed by the Chairman.
The quote from the article cited below supports our observations:
“Board evaluations often move through a predictable progression: refusal, active resistance, passive resistance, check the box, several other steps but finally among man boards there is a desire for continuous improvement and being proactive. The process can help boards reach a consensus on what’s working, what’s not and what to work on in what order. It often induces a productive conversation about what directors want to see changed at the board level.
The most important thing is the conversation. Identify some actionable items. The better the conversation, the better the evaluation. Evaluations are the catalyst. Start at group level, moving to individual level. For a good evaluation, the board needs to have a good understanding of its role and the role of individual directors. Direct feedback to individuals is important.”
Genius Methods conclusion:
Boards that want to improve will not fear evaluation and recommendations constructively provided, instead they will implement the Learning Board concept and continuously improve.