Performance issues on boards are not uncommon and are attributed to a variety of reasons. This includes having the most qualified people on the board as well as fostering a positive culture, providing access to information and regularly conducting evaluations. Taking the right approach to these areas is essential to improving the board and business.

Board members have a range of expertise on certain areas, but if a few directors are more knowledgeable than others, it could hinder the discussion at meetings. Boards can combat this by implementing mandatory training for all directors, on topics of relevance, such as M&A or the introduction of new geographic areas. This will help raise knowledge levels and ensure that all directors are well-prepared for board meetings.

The board hasn’t set up the structures and procedures appropriate for carrying out its duties regarding evaluation, for instance, by establishing an internal committee for collecting and analyzing data on performance or regularly bringing back assessment results for the board to be reviewed.

Boards should also invest in third-party facilitated assessments that provide an external layer of knowledge and impartiality which is not always present in an internal review. Professional evaluators can help you avoid political gamesmanship, by not focusing on accusations and instead on identifying a common path to improvement. They can also act as a neutral mediator to address sensitive issues that involve the dynamics of a group and personal egos. They can also provide an organized plan for ongoing improvements, including measurable and time-bound plans. They can also offer guidance that is based on best practices and industry information, helping the board reduce its workload and increase efficiency of the board.

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