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The benefits of Board evaluation

Thursday, May 18 2017

The performance evaluation process helps individuals and boards identify and develop skills that will enhance the credit union’s operation. Performance problems may also become apparent through the evaluation. It is important to recognise such problems and know how to deal with them.

During a board meeting, the president is responsible for keeping the discussion on track and ensuring that the group follows the agenda.

To do this, he or she may have to take a firm stand. If an individual consistently goes off track, the president may need to assume a counselling role to rectify the situation.

It is the president’s responsibility to deal with performance problems.

The difficulty is in finding the balance between encouraging participation and discouraging performance problems. This balance will vary with each situation and with each board.

Other members of the board have a responsibility as well: to discourage unacceptable behaviour and to stick to agenda topics. Codes of Ethics or Codes of Conduct must be implemented with sanctions for breach.

Performance issues which are typical in a Board of directors are: lack of attendance, late arrival and going off the agenda. It may be appropriate to contact an outside resource person either to discuss particular problems or to help solve them. Most organisations can provide or recommend a resource person.

There are some important rules to remember when discussing a performance problem with a member of the Board. They are to:
• emphasise the situation rather than the individual;
• maintain a working relationship with the individual; and
• maintain the individual’s self-esteem.

Board members must accept their duty to each other, as well as the organisation and its members. When a Board member’s performance creates a problem, it is the responsibility of the whole board to deal with it. In many cases an unresolved concern or problematic behaviour can interfere with an otherwise well-functioning organisation. Performance problems should be dealt with as soon as they become apparent. Individuals must be made aware of their roles and the expectations of the group. If they fail to see the gravity of the problem, the group must be clear about expected behaviour and the result of not complying.

It is important to realise that Board self-evaluation provides a picture – a record at a given moment in Board history – of the way that the Board and its senior management perceive the Board’s operation at the time. As Board membership and employee’s makeup change, and as conditions and priorities shift, the resets also are likely to change.

The dated results of a selfevaluation process will provide a useful base for a subsequent look at Board’s performance. In many cases, the process will offer one of the Board’s few positive and reliable indicators of change and improvement. The recorded data have been captured as part of the record, and will be available for re-examination in the light of new data. Therefore, some Boards will find it useful to carry out the selfevaluation process on an annual basis.

In some cases, the Board will carry out the evaluation process itself, including the review and planning meetings. In other instances, it will want to involve an outsider facilitator to guide the process.

Often, the skilled facilitator can add more objective perspective than the insider, particularly if asked to analyse the data and prepare a report on the findings.

It is also worthwhile to involve a facilitator if the Board is still moving towards being an effective body. Perhaps directors have come together only recently or feel tensions that may need identifying and dealing with during the review process.

Feedback When discussing behaviour changes with a person who has performance problems, be sure that the person who initiates the discussion emphasises the situation, not the individual. The goal is to be supportive rather than confrontational. Here are some recommended steps to follow:
• state the issue in behavioural terms and clearly indicate the desired behaviour;
• ask the individual for his/her point of view;
• discuss any differences in opinion and ask the individual to suggest how they could address the issue; and
• summarise, record expectations and intended actions, and set a date for follow up The League continues its development thrust and several leadership strategies and developmental knowledge will be imparted to participants at its 17th Annual Regional Leadership Conference, in Panama City, from May 25-28.

creditunionleague@gmail.com



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