How to Measure the Overall Effectiveness of Board Meetings

business woman balancing effectiveness of board meeting

During board meetings, boards of directors reach the crucial decisions that shape a company’s culture, business model, and vision for the future. It’s also where board-members can collaborate and innovate in a way that sets their organization ahead of the pack.

When a board member partakes in productive and engaging meetings, there’s a trickle-down effect that drastically bolsters the rest of the organization.

However, any potential positives that come with these encounters necessitate high-level execution. Reaching optimal productivity standards starts with applying the requisite methodologies – discussed below – to the process. 

These suggestions will provide an actionable framework to boards of directors looking for ways to assess the overall success of their meetings:

Evaluating Individual Board Members During Meetings

First and foremost, it’s wise to measure board meetings by each part that goes into the sum—so to speak. Meaning, every individual board member ought to be subject to evaluations of their performance during meetings.

Peer-to-peer evaluations through confidential questionnaires will give an accurate reflection of a board member’s performance. In this scenario, each member will rate one another on a scale from one to three:

 1 = Outstanding; 2 = Satisfactory; 3 = Needs Improvement

The chair of the governance committee would be responsible for setting up the questionnaire and taking the appropriate action in response. Ideally, praise would be presented in public while critiques remained private between the chair and the board member in question. 

These questionnaires act as a motivational tool for board members while keeping them accountable for actively contributing to meetings. 

Here are three questions that can be put forth on a board member evaluation survey/questionnaire:

  1. Was the board member prepared?
  2. Was the board member positive and respectful?
  3. Did the board member reach decisions with the right perspective?

Evaluating the Structure and Execution of Meetings as a Whole

The sum of these parts – the board meetings themselves – should also be up for evaluation. For instance, board members can answer a questionnaire or survey at the end of every meeting.

Boards shouldn’t wait to evaluate their processes over more extended periods. Annual assessments, for instance, provide too much time between evaluations for bad habits to develop. Such a misstep can drastically hamper the productivity of a board during meetings because inefficiencies won’t be caught in time. Whereas assessing what did and didn’t work during each encounter makes a board more present and prepared to engage. Plus, they’ll be ready to act on trends (negative or positive) while they’re developing.

Once again, it’s wise to make the rankings on these questionnaires relatively straightforward, providing the same 1-3 scale as mentioned above. 

Here are three questions that can be put forth on a meeting evaluation survey/questionnaire:

  1. Were the meeting’s agenda items relevant to the board? 
  2. Was the meeting time effective and well-focused?
  3. Did the meeting avoid administrative management details?

Successful Boards Never Get Too Comfortable

Of course, the notion, “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” carries with it plenty of weight and wisdom. 

However, tweaks and upgrades are only meant to make what already works work even better. Don’t make the mistake of blindly trusting something because it suffices today. Instead, focus on maintaining excellent standards. And continually prepare for oncoming challenges of tomorrow by alwaysevaluating the effectiveness of board meetings.