Improving the board assessment process is a frequent topic for governance professionals, yet proportionally little time is spent on board committee evaluations. As board oversight and responsibilities continue to expand, much of the board’s heavy-lifting now happens within board committees. So shouldn’t today’s boards have a regular process for assessing the composition, leadership, and effectiveness of their committees?
In this episode, Mike Berthelot, a board member with Fresh Del Monte Produce and long-time outside facilitator of board evaluations, joins host TK Kerstetter to discuss how boards can better orchestrate committee evaluations. According to Berthelot, the right format and facilitator for committee evaluations will always depend on various factors, yet he describes how boards should be approaching both the evaluation frequency and process.
The test that I use: I look at the minutes for the year, and I compare them to the [committee] charter. Is everything in your charter noted in the minutes as having been done? If it isn’t, then you didn’t do your job. Should you get into litigation…it opens up the whole pandora’s box of ‘unknown unknowns’.
Berthelot explains how board committees should use the evaluation process to set the committee’s agenda for the year ahead. Among other topics covered:
- What are common flaws in the way committee evaluations are conducted today?
- What two hypothetical questions can a facilitator ask to determine the strengths and weaknesses in board and committee composition?
- How should the board handle a committee chair who needs to be replaced?