Far too often we sense reluctance from Chairmen and other Board members to subject themselves to a Board Evaluation review. The feeling is that this is another stick that we could well do without.
Yes, part of a Board Review needs to have within it elements of checks and balance; that’s only natural. For example, the following are the type of questions posed:
How well is the Chairman performing?
Do non executive directors add a positive contribution?
Is the agenda well managed?
Are Board papers circulated well in advance?
Is the Board composition adequate?
Is there a healthy balance of cohesion and challenge?
However, in practice, our work extends beyond this; we also like to pose more searching questions:
How are you creating value for your stakeholders?
Are you happy with the level of strategic conversations that take place?
Within the Board is there a culture and practice of constructive challenge, i.e. hard on the issue but soft on the individual?
Is the Board sufficiently outward looking?
Are you happy with the strategic aims set?
Is your Business Model regularly challenged?
If you haven’t done so already, we highly recommend you read this year’s letter to shareholders from Warren Buffett (www.berkshirehathaway.com) Here is a very short extract:
“The primary job of a Board of Directors is to see that the right people are running the business and to be sure that the next generation of leaders is identified and ready to take over tomorrow”.