Board reviews can be as broad as the circumstances, covering a wide range of topics. Whilst the scope may change depending on the issues facing the board and organisation, at a base level there are three key areas that should be covered in every process:
1. The performance of the board
A review of the overall performance of the board looks at what value directors have created (or protected) as a collective group and how effectively the group operates together. This typically involves reviewing the board’s performance with respect to the following areas:
What areas the board focuses on;
How individual board members interact with each other;
The capabilities, skills, experience and diversity of board members;
Renewal, the selection process and talent pipeline;
The robustness of debate amongst board members;
The culture of the collective board;
How directors communicate and interact with each other; and
The productivity of the board.
2. The position and performance of the chair
The chair plays a critical role in how a board performs. In almost all circumstances, a review of the board should include a review of the performance of the chair. Reviewing the performance of the chair typically includes covering how they:
Build relationships with directors;
Facilitate discussion and feedback;
Prepare for and conduct meetings; and
Relate to the CEO.
3. How the board and management interact
Management is a key enabler for the board. A strong relationship between the two is crucial to board and organisational performance. To evaluate the board/management dynamic your review should look at:
How the board communicates with management;
The level of transparency and information disclosure between the two;
The planning frameworks they have in place;
How the board engages with the organisational strategy process;
What boundaries are in place between the board and management;
How much guidance the board provides management; and
How receptive management is to board input.
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Allie Gertz / About Author
Allie Gertz is a senior writer at BoardOutlook, a software platform that delivers a standardised and rigorous platform for board evaluations and professional development.