This fillable Board Evaluation Template (download page bottom) is the same tool we customize when conducting Board Evaluations for clients. Results from this Board evaluation will help the Board measure its understanding of corporate governance and the Board’s role, as well as key Governance effectiveness factors like leadership, board composition, Board culture and other factors.
Key Differentiator of this Board Evaluation Template
This is a very effective Board evaluation template. One its key differentiators is the insight it gathers on what Directors (and others) know, not just what they feel about the Board’s governance effectiveness.
For example, one of the questions is how well a Director understands the Board’s governance role. It’s common for Directors to rate themselves near the top on this. However, the follow-up question is ‘please describe your understanding of the Board’s role’. The answers here will show whether there is a common understanding on the Board of its governance role. Frequently, there isn’t. This has a huge impact on governance effectiveness. It’s difficult for a Board to be effective at governance without a common understanding of the role, regardless of how well individual Directors rate their understanding.
Eliminating Over-Rating of Governance Effectiveness
One of the key reasons we adapted our Board Evaluation Template to gather more insight like this to eliminate a very common problem with Boards and Board evaluations – that they tend to significantly over-rate governance capability.
Directors on all Boards (public, private, not-for-profit) have significant motivation ‘to be nice’ (perceived as being ‘fair’) when they evaluate themselves and their Board’s performance. They want to make sure their efforts and the efforts of others are recognized. They want to be motivating and encouraging to other Directors on the Board. Sometimes, they are concerned about confidentiality and worry that purely honest feedback will become public and hurt relationships with others on the Board. In many cases, Directors simply don’t know how to evaluate the things they are being asked to evaluate. Very few Directors are governance experts. Most come onto a Board for some other reason, skill or capability that has nothing to do with their knowledge of governance. So, unless a Board Evaluation Template delves into actual, not perceived knowledge, there’s a good chance the Board Evaluation will be misleading.
Misleading Board evaluations are a problem because when Boards over-rate themselves they build a false sense of confidence in their performance. This increases risk that the Board will fail in its role and the organization will wake up one day to a governance problem. Over-rating also decreases or eliminates any motivation the Board has to improve.
Administering the Board Evaluation Template
This Board evaluation template can be self-administered by a Board or through an outside evaluator. We’re biased towards using an outside governance expert. From our work we see that many (the majority of) Boards struggle with key governance performance concepts. We’ve seen really awful Boards self-evaluate themselves near the top. From a governance perspective that’s a concern.
Board Evaluation Template Download Options
There are two Board Evaluation Template downloads. One is the Board Evaluation Template on its own. The other is a Premium Governance Package that includes a Board Evaluation Template and a CEO Evaluation Template. Both of these templates are identical to the ones we customize for our governance clients. Boardroom Metrics has been evaluating Board and CEO effectiveness in public, private and not-for-profit organizations for many years. Many of the lessons we’ve learned are shared on this site.
If you download either of these evaluations and require assistance or have questions, let us know.