Is your Board of Directors functioning as a strategic, governing body that adds value and high level strategic expertise to your organization? Are you attracting and selecting the right people for your Board? Are they working effectively together at a strategic level to effectively govern and advance the organization? Are they conducting the CEO evaluation process in a manner that is objective, useful and contributes positively?
The role and responsibility of Boards of Directors has dramatically changed in recent years. The increased responsibility of Boards has made ensuring they are comprised of the “right” people and focused on the right things at the right times even more critical. It has become even more critical for Boards to demonstrate a high level of responsibility and commitment to best practices.
Strategic Alignment Partners has worked with Boards in the following areas:
- Board Member Selection — Having the “right” people on your board can make the difference between a highly effective board that contributes to the organization in meaningful ways or fails to add value or is a destructive board that creates endless “headaches” for the CEO and organization. Successful board selection processes have clearly defined roles and competencies, clearly aligned communications for attracting the “right” types of board candidates for the organization, an objective process for evaluating candidates and then an effective process for recommending and selecting those candidates who are likely to make the necessary contributions. Having a sound and successful, objective process for selecting Board Directors help ensure you have the right board members to effectively fulfill the role of strategic governance and facilitate your organization moving forward successfully.
- Board Evaluation — The increased responsibility of Boards and recent events in the business environment has led Boards of Directors to being more proactive in evaluating themselves. In fact, Board self-evaluation has increasingly become viewed as a key component of responsible governance and a high performing Board. A self-evaluation indicates that the Board is continually monitoring itself and seeking to ensure that it functions at the highest level of effectiveness and integrity. Evaluating itself does not in any way presume existing problems but instead in today’s environment demonstrates a high level of responsibility and commitment to best practices. A Board evaluation provides objective insights into opportunities to increase Board effectiveness as a whole and consequently the Board’s impact on advancing the profession at a strategic level. Board evaluation gives the Board an objective method for stepping back and taking a 30,000 foot view of themselves as a strategic governing body. It provides the opportunity to step out of the roles that individuals play as current or former individual executives or members of other boards and allows a focused, objective evaluation of this organizations Board as a strategic governing body. This helps ensure that as a group the Board is operating at the highest and best level of strategic governance for the organization. A board evaluation can help the board focus or stay focused on the right things. The key is to customize the evaluation process to meet the unique needs of and be meaningful for your board while still being streamlined enough to provide data that can actually be used in practical ways. It is important that it be the right substance without being burdensome or bureaucratic.
- Board Development – A key to a board being effective in fulfilling their roles is their ability to have deliberative discussion within the context and framework of their purpose. When board members fail to communicate effectively, function in a strategic manner or when they form (not alliances cause that’s positive but I can’t think of the negative/ dysfunctional word – is it when they break down into “camps” – there’s probably a better word) providing them with an objective way to work together to better fulfill their governance role while adding strategic value to the organization.
- CEO Evaluation – A major governance responsibility of all Boards is overseeing and evaluating the CEO. This oversight responsibility has become even more critical in light of recent events and regulatory changes. Stakeholders are holding Board’s to even higher levels of responsibility and accountability when it comes to CEO and organization oversight. As a result the process for evaluating the CEO needs to meet broader needs while providing meaningful feedback to the CEO that also keeps them engaged. CEO feedback is an even more delicate balancing act than any other kind of feedback or evaluation process with employees. A further challenge in the process is that Board members aren’t interacting with the organization on a daily or weekly basis (and they shouldn’t be) – they are evaluating from the strategic, big picture perspective. Boards need to walk the line by providing strategic CEO oversight, catch and resolve potential issues early before they become issues while avoiding any tendency to micro-manage the CEO or organization. Developing and using an evaluation process which is strategic in nature without being bureaucratic, burdensome or too generic can make all the difference in the effectiveness of this process. Strategic Alignment Partners works with Boards and organizations to help create, manage and execute an objective evaluation process that meets the unique needs of your organization – that hits the right topics for ensuring you are effectively fulfilling your responsibilities while furthering the strategic objectives of the organization.
For more information on the work Strategic Alignment Partners does with Boards of Directors call 1-866-794-0472 or 703-242-2898.