Start your board assessment with a ‘bop’

After establishing your board-organizing principle, consider four additional success factors.

As with anything worth doing, board assessments are worth doing well—especially if the board has had an aversion to being “evaluated.” Committing to an assessment process begins with developing a shared understanding of what the board plans to accomplish and a realization that the path to achieving that goal might include a few branches and stones. But, the destination will be worth the trips.

Remember that the board has been in tough conversations before and come out on the other side stronger, more informed and an overall better team. With an assessment though, the journey is specifically designed to help the board get better. That’s not an unintended byproduct; that is the product.

The board can begin the assessment process by developing a charge of commitment-what we call a board-organizing principle or a BOP for short (and because saying BOP is fun and catches people’s attention). A BOP is a declarative statement of how the board will operate as a governing, officiating body over the long term.

Think about the BOP like this. As a board, you’ve had a governing principle already, though it’s likely that it’s just been understood and unspoken. A BOP intentionally informs a board’s actions and engagement to help it achieve new levels of performance. It answers the question of why we (specifically this board) should exist beyond the regulatory reasons.


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