"No matter how good a board is, it’s bound to get better if it’s reviewed intelligently." Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld
"We all owe the shareholder activists, accountants, lawyers, and analysts who study corporate governance a debt: In the 1980s and 1990s, they alerted us to the importance of independent directors, audit committees, ethical guidelines, and other structural elements that can help ensure that a corporate board does its job. Without a doubt, these good-governance guidelines have helped companies avoid problems, big and small. But they’re not the whole story or even the longest chapter in the story. If a board is to truly fulfill its mission – to monitor performance, advise the CEO, and provide connections with a broader world–it must become a robust team – one whose members know how to ferret out the truth, challenge one another, and even have a good fight now and then."
Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld (2002) "What Makes Great Boards Great", Harvard Business Review
High performing boards pay attention to how they are tracking, always on the lookout for ways to improve. Some not-for-profit organisations are required to conduct a board assessment as part of accreditation or to meet contractual obligations with funding bodies.
We use a structured approach in regard to Board assessments, based on sound evaluation criteria. The process comprises a number of discrete elements addressing the main areas of governance. It includes desk research, discussions with directors and, sometimes, with senior management or others as well as an internet survey. We then design and facilitate a working session with the Board at which a governance action plan is developed and agreed.
There are a range of reasons for Boards wanting to conduct an assessment. For example:
As part of a continuous improvement program for the Board.
Before recruiting new Directors to help determine the most valuable skill sets.
To inform the ongoing professional development program for Directors.
Prior to a restructure of the Board or as part of a larger governance review.
In preparation for a joint venture or strategic alliance.