A forward-looking board needs to understand its strengths, vulnerabilities

October 28, 2016

“While it is impossible to ‘futureproof’ a board, assessing its strengths and potential vulnerabilities can go a long way toward ensuring that it is prepared for what’s ahead,” write Peter Eckel and Cathy Trower for Inside Higher Ed. The authors note that all boards are different, not only in culture, but in scope of work and level of sophistication; yet there are fundamental best practices that tend to traverse these differences. For example, a board chair should easily be able to say whether there are written expectations for trustees, orientation processes for new members, and formal demands for board members to prepare for meetings. The authors outline a set of standards for assessing a board’s performance and culture, and conclude with the suggestion that while boards can conduct these assessments themselves, “they may be better served by having outside experts help craft questions and make sense of the results.” Inside Higher Ed