Context
A public retirement system retainer client of Mosaic Governance Advisors had followed a similar approach to its annual board self-evaluations for several years. Although the evaluation had regularly yielded governance improvements that kept the board’s operations aligned with contemporary practices, we sensed that board members wanted an opportunity to engage in more in-depth, meaningful discussions.

We feel we have an obligation to our clients to ensure that their routine governance practices continue to hold their value and meaning. Here, we were able to proactively make suggestions to drive new value because of our close relationship with the board’s leadership and deep understanding of the board’s dynamics. We recommended a new self-evaluation approach to the board chair and vice chair and were asked to implement it for the next evaluation cycle.

The Work
A new, one-on-one interview-style approach was designed in favor of the former traditional self-evaluation questionnaire. We asked about the board’s most significant accomplishments, its areas of strength, and essential areas for improvement or enhancement, among other topics. Board members were asked to reflect on their individual performance and identify areas for further development. We engaged each board member individually. The feedback and sentiment were rich and constructive. Our team compiled and prioritized the important themes into a written summary report that was provided to the board for its discussion.

The Results
Board members had a greater appreciation for what they had collectively worked to accomplish along with the tangible areas that could translate into more effective future collaboration. More diversity in perspectives and feedback were generated, and specific ideas and solutions for possible implementation were put forward. Development topics of interest were shared with the CEO so that continuing education opportunities could be tailored to the board member preferences expressed.