During a recent Defining Moments, “Leading Change Together,” Bill Hybels and Jim Mellado talked about a new practice Willow’s elder board is using to evaluate its meetings.
At the end of the meeting, the board chairperson asks the board to take five minutes to evaluate the meeting out loud—not through a written or private survey. This helps the board hold itself accountable and prevents any “meetings after the meeting” in which such feedback is often provided. Here is a general list of the questions they ask:
- Did we receive progress reports on the goals to which we are holding the management team accountable?
- Were the interests and needs of our church’s members and those we serve considered or discussed?
- Was motivation and enthusiasm high or low? Were we fully engaged?
- Was the purpose of information provided identified as either (1) monitoring (helping the board track the performance of a goal), (2) needing a decision from the board, or (3) information only?
- Did we discuss ends (the outcomes or goals for which we are holding the church’s management team accountable)?
- Did the board discuss or take action on responsibilities that should have been delegated to the management team or staff?
- Were issues discussed in connection to existing policies? Did we apply current policies in making the decisions?
- In this meeting, did were there any instances where someone violated our code of conduct? Were there any “fouls”?
- Did we seek consensual decisions?
- Did we acknowledge achievements and celebrate them?
A copy of the Policy Governance Board Self-Assessment is available here. It is based on John Carver’s work on Policy Governance, which has been adopted by Willow’s elder board. We highly recommend John Carver’s book, Boards That Make a Difference: A New Design for Leadership in Nonprofit and Public Organizations.
What about your team? How do you evaluate your meetings? What questions do you ask?