Whether you’re a large corporation or a local non-profit, it’s important for your board to periodically evaluate its mission and establish consistency in goals and objectives. Board assessments provide a strategic opportunity for organizations to better evaluate and understand the functioning board and confirm that individual director competencies are aligned with the organization’s priorities and concerns of the its stakeholders. An effective board assessment helps yield reliable information for decision making, better communication with key stakeholders, and improved board governance.

Beyond the assessment of the board and its members, the process also helps to evaluate how effective they are in managing their responsibilities over the organization’s strategies, enterprise risk management, ethical values, compliance, accountability, monitoring, and IT governance.

While there is no one-size-fits-all equation for conducting a board assessment, there are common factors and goals that an assessment should accomplish.

Benefits of a thoughtful board assessment

Improving and strengthening

  • Clarity on the roles of the directors and the board as a whole to avoid unnecessary conflicts and accelerate the decision making process
  • The organization’s governance and transparency between the organization and its stakeholders
  • An understanding of the organization’s operations, customer experience, resources and people management practices as it evolves

 Identifying gaps

  • In knowledge and expertise related to rapid changes in technology, cyber security, digital media privacy and other associated risks and opportunities for the organization
  • In enterprise risk assessment process to ensure the board clearly understands the organization’s risk appetite and the monitoring of unknown or unanticipated vulnerabilities


  • A deeper understanding of the industry, the sectors within the industry and competitive threats both locally and globally
  • Trust among board members to address mistakes and poor decisions and to candidly discuss and resolve them as they occur
  • Board member commitment to the success of the team and mission
  • An understanding of the value each member adds to the collective board while  seeking advice from each other

Every board will have a slightly different approach to assessing its effectiveness, and oftentimes independent consultants are brought in to help facilitate the process.

If you have questions about board assessments or want to learn more about how SSF can help you, we are here to help. Contact Kevin Burke at 925.271.8700 or at click here to message Kevin.