High-performing organizations are often data driven. The leadership understands the outcomes it’s trying to achieve and designs indicators by which to measure success.
The staff collects, analyzes, and makes decisions based on the data. The board also reviews the findings to know if the organization is fulfilling its mission and moving closer to its vision. These organizations are responsive, nimble, and effective.
But, it’s not enough to only measure the performance of the day-to-day work — it’s also imperative to measure the performance of the board.
Good board governance does not happen by chance. It is intentional, strategic, and reflective.
BoardSource, the global thought leader on nonprofit board governance, shares the importance of board self-assessment:
“Board self-assessment enables the board to hold itself, its members, and its processes accountable, to identify gaps between current performance and expected or hoped-for performance, and chart a course of improvement, refinement, and/or further progress.”
As a consulting firm, we help our clients through this process and it’s always insightful. We worked with the Health Policy Institute of Ohio this summer, which is an extremely high-performing organization; however, it was the first time the board embarked on a review of its people, culture, work, and impact through a comprehensive self-assessment.
The chief executive led the process and the entire board was not only participatory, but highly engaged. There were new insights gleaned and new ideas to implement. Following our facilitated session, 78% of board members “strongly agreed” that the self-assessment process was beneficial in advancing the work of HPIO.
BoardSource has free and paid resources for board self-assessment, which can be found here. The process can be comprehensive, such as the BoardSource BSA tool, or it can be a simple survey led by the governance committee.
We recommend that the board assess itself annually at the same time they evaluate the chief executive and the chief executive evaluates the staff. Creating this cadence of annually reflecting on performance at both the board and staff levels is a powerful way to enhance the culture and improve effectiveness.
We are proud of our work with the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and look forward to seeing how they deepen their impact because of their thoughtful process.
Article by: Kerri Laubenthal Mollard, Founder & CEO