(Continued from Yesterday's Post)
Peer Review Process
So what’s the process to assess board culture for continuous improvement? The frequent peer review is highly recommended because of value of the data and the ability to promote conversation about these important traits for effective leadership. We recommend conducting the peer survey every few weeks focusing on one of the seven traits that most contribute to a healthy culture.
The School Growth Board Index includes this functionality for collecting the data and reporting the results, or you can use a web-based survey tool to ask how each person on the board sees their peers individually in their growth. Each survey should be conducted in such a way to provide anonymity and confidentiality for all board members. The purpose of this exercise is to build up not hunt down. The board's officers must set the appopriate tone for the board peer review process to be most effective.
This survey should be done in a way that has a continuous cycle to it because there is an ebb and flow within the organization. By collecting this peer review data on more frequently, you establish a strong database that’s gives you more accurate feedback in order to make adjustments to professional development for the board. Does your board model the same commitment to learning and growth that you have for your administration and faculty? You need to have a plan for how you are going to grow this year, and possibly even next, in order to move along the continuum of board development towards becoming a sustaining board. You want a graph similar to the one below to gauge progress on various traits, and solicit anonymous and confidentialfeedback from your board members on each one.
A small amount of time at each board meeting can be set aside for discussing progress along these traits, as well as best practices around them to improve. If Confidentiality is an area that recently received a lower rating in the peer survey, for example, a few minutes spent on identifying the importance and disciplines of protecting such information can only protect the board and support good relationships. Avoiding these conversations allows the board culture to suffer under the weight of issues that some perceive but never get addressed. Maintaining this process of peer review helps you develop these traits and maintain growth in each area as you move towards becoming a Sustaining Board.
Board culture is someone’s job and it’s everyone’s job. The person who really sets the tone for board culture is the chairman of the board, but every board member has to take ownership in setting expectations, holding each other accountable, providing respectful and constructive feedback, and helping each other grow. You have to be willing to submit to the bigger mission, fully committing to the vision and culture that you want to achieve in the school. That requires the ability to push the ego down and work as a collaborative group. You’ve heard the saying that there’s no “I” in “team.” Well, there’s no “I” in “board” either. You need board members who are completely committed to building a strong culture, and will do what it take to be the kind of organization that is inspiring greatness.