Assessing my own board performance By: Debra Beck
How do I know if I've been an effective board member?
If and when we think about board self-assessment, we focus primarily on group-level evaluation. While there is much to accomplish from a collective review of our governance performance, it's equally important to take some time to reflect on how we're doing as individual members of that leadership group.
Ideally, we're evaluating and adapting our actions daily. But it also is important to take time, in a more formal setting, to assess our individual contributions to the greater good. Formally asking our board to stop, reflect, and recommit - as individual members - is an essential part of the process.
What types of questions foster the kind of productive self-assessment that leads to enhanced board member effectiveness? How can we help guide reflection that deepens commitment to organizational leadership? I've thought about that and offer several questions to consider posing to your board members. Obviously, asking every question here would be overkill. But they may give you a starting point for either constructing a self-assessment from this basket of possibilities or adapting and expanding to fit your board's specific needs.
Here is an initial list of potential self-assessment questions:
- What skills, perspectives, connections, etc., do I bring to the table?
- What are my unique contributions to this board's work?
- How would I rate my individual performance on the following:
- Attendance at meetings
- Participation in discussions
- Willingness to pose questions that need to be asked
- Willingness to offer counterpoints/different perspectives to board deliberations
- Participation on committees and other focused work groups
- Fulfilling commitments I make
- What is my biggest point of pride so far?
- How have I exercised leadership within the board?
- Do I support the agency financially, at a level that is personally meaningful?
- Where have I fallen short in my board responsibilities? What can I do to change that?
- How have I shared our story with the community? With what outcome(s)?
- What do I need to know/understand better to serve more effectively?
- How do I prefer to gain that knowledge (e.g., face to face training, print or web resources)?
- What am I yearning to do/accomplish before my term ends?
- Would I serve again if asked? Why or why not?
What questions would you add to the pool?
A version of this post originally appeared on Dr. Beck’s blog, The Laramie Board Learning Project (http://www.boardlearning.org).