We have been asked this question by many Chairs and boards in the last 12 months once they have received their benchmarked Board Effectiveness Report. It is not surprising that boards have expressed concern that they are benchmarked in the bottom quartile. Here is an example of what they have seen.
Because we have debriefed so many boards in every place on the speed dial shown above, including the one in four that, by definition, get ranked in the bottom quartile, we are able to give boards a good answer to the question: Should I be worried?
We have told many Chairs and boards that it is much better to use a validated evidence-based approach to know where your board is at and to know what you need to do about it, than not knowing where your board is at and therefore not being empowered or having the road map to improve.
By the end of a debrief of their results with Board Benchmarking or one of our global network of Advisory Partners, boards become clear as to why they have been benchmarked lower than most other boards and are clear as to what they now need to do about it. In the words of one Chair, “This process is really well thought through. We will now be able to improve out of sight. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without this fabulous benchmarked data.”
Many boards have expressed a similar sentiment after they have deeply engaged with their reports, with the help of expert advice, to understand in which areas they have been benchmarked lowest and therefore specifically what they need to do to improve.
Not only does Board Benchmarking’s report show a board where they are benchmarked overall, they also show where the board is benchmarked in relation to each of the 20 most important areas of a board’s performance and effectiveness. Seeing strengths and areas for improvement in black and white – or more correctly, in green, beige and red, means that boards know exactly where they need to improve to increase their performance and effectiveness.
Most, if not all, directors know that better board performance means better organisation performance. This means that it is incumbent on all boards to understand where they are at in terms of their overall performance and effectiveness and what steps they need to take to improve.