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How Boards Can Evaluate ED/CEO Performance

Posted Feb 23, 2016 02:55 PM
It's important for the board to conduct an annual evaluation of the ED/CEO, but what's also important is how that review is done. The board should focus on evaluating the organization's performance and using surveys that don't judge the executive's personal characteristics. Read more about what resources are available to boards who wish to find a comprehensive and effective way to evaluate the executive.

It is important for the board to conduct an annual evaluation of the executive director or CEO, but what is also important is how that review is done. What criteria should be used by the board to evaluate the ED? The answer to that lies in this basic premise: The organization’s performance IS the executive’s performance.

The board’s focus should be on evaluating how the organization is performing, not on personal characteristics of the executive. Is the organization accomplishing its goals and is in a strong financial position? Focusing on organizational results deters board members from evaluating the executive in ways that can introduce unrecognized bias, be influenced by interpersonal conflict, or be fueled by disgruntled staff.

Step #1 of the evaluation process starts with defining the goals the executive is expected to achieve at least a year in advance so that the executive has time to develop the resources and processes necessary to meet these goals. Step #2 is establishing a process for the executive to report on progress so that the board can provide feedback and support all year.

Many boards are using a 360° survey as the basis for the executive’s evaluation. Read more about why a 360° survey is a helpful developmental tool but a risky way to evaluate performance.

Need help in guiding your board? Share this information and contact us if they would like some help in structuring a fair and effective evaluation process.