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Board effectiveness review

Business, government, customers and society, quite rightly, have much higher expectations of our boards and the governance of our organisations than they had previously. Recent Royal Commissions have taught us that the actions and behaviours of our organisations many years ago will be judged, not by what was acceptable then, but by the standards of today.

If we want to set a high bar for the performance, culture and success of our organisations we better start with our boards. This is appropriately referred to as setting a high tone from the top.

It is also incumbent on our boards to have an objective understanding of the extent of our board’s performance, effectiveness and what can be done to improve. This is almost impossible to achieve without conducting an objective review of our boards. Without such a review we are likely to have as many different views of our board’s effectiveness as the number of directors on our boards.

An objective view as to our board’s performance and effectiveness will also enable our boards to build a roadmap for its improvement. If our boards are continually seeking to understand the extent of its effectiveness and what it can do to improve it is much more likely to embed a culture of continuous improvement in the board and the organisation.

Such a model can be applied across corporate structure, including CEO performance reviews, leadership team effectiveness and more.

Your board review options

Insync’s experience from completing almost 500 board reviews has taught us that one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to board evaluations. This is why Insync has pioneered the development of three different options for boards of different shapes and sizes as shown below. Many survey items that are important for a board of a large organisation are not appropriate for a board of a smaller or medium sized organisation.

Insync has also disrupted the board evaluation industry by making its world class benchmarked board effectiveness survey available online. As well as reducing its prices it has provided full transparency of its pricing. Clients can choose the benchmarked board survey along with optional extras such as expert advice that most suit their circumstances.

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For larger organisations

Bespoke Design
(to meet your requirements)

High Touch
– agreed timetable

A$20,000 to A$75,000 plus

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Board benchmarking

For medium and large organisations

Design your own review
(from surveys, interviews, summaries etc.)

Dedicated project manager
– prompt turnaround

A$5,000 to A$17,500 plus

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Board surveys

For small organisations and NFPs

Choose from 2 short
fit-for-purpose surveys

Self managed
– fast turnaround

A$1,425 to A$4,000 plus

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Insync’s tailored approach to your external board effectiveness review

Most boards of larger organisations do an externally facilitated independent review of the effectiveness of their board every two or three years and more of a light touch review in the intervening years.

Whilst we tailor our reviews to suit your individual circumstances, most of our board evaluations comprise some or all of the following components:

  • Our benchmarked Board Effectiveness Survey and a corresponding benchmarked Board Effectiveness Report that shows you how your board benchmarked overall, in each of the 20 factors that are important for a board’s effectiveness and for each survey item.
  • A light touch review of Committees which is done by adding Committee Effectiveness Module to the end of the board survey
  • A review of the effectiveness of individual directors by way of a lite touch or deeper dive review. A lite touch review is done by adding a short Director Effectiveness Module to the end of the board survey. A deeper dive review is done by way of a separate unobtrusive Director Effectiveness Survey.
  • A structured interview of around one hour with each director and some or all of the executives who completed the survey. The interviews probe issues identified for improvement in the benchmarked Board Effectiveness Report and the board’s alignment around strategic priorities and main risks
  • A separate expert report synthesising the views of interviewees and the issues identified by the survey with carefully crafted recommendations. We design three to five recommendations that are likely to result in the greatest improvement in the board’s performance
  • An interactive debrief of the board and governance in relation to our findings and recommendations which is where much of the value lies
  • Ongoing assistance and advice on how to implement the recommendations made. This may include board workshops and other facilitated interventions to improve board functioning, effectiveness and value-add
  • The review can also include a review of board and/or committee charters, agendas, packs and minutes and observing the board in session although these review procedures are often only done when required following completion of the main review.

Many larger organisations use the same or a shorter version of our Board Effectiveness Survey to carry out their lighter touch reviews in the years between the externally facilitated reviews. This saves them having to cobble together an in-house survey and report which is invariably cumbersome, unreliable and is not conducive to achieving candid responses. When a board uses one of our surveys for a second time, they benefit from being able to track their performance and effectiveness over time with the inclusion of comparable figures.

Our Board Effectiveness framework

Our Board Effectiveness Framework uses the world recognised WhatWhoHowDo framework. It was adapted following a psychometric and statistical review with the help of Deakin University in 2020 to produce one of the only validated Board Effectiveness Frameworks and group of survey items in the world.

All our board surveys of Insync, Board Benchmarking and Board Surveys use the same validated framework and survey items, albeit with shorter surveys being approximate for smaller organisations.

Also benchmarking is always done against comparable organisations. Small not-for-profits are benchmarked against small not for profits and large listed companies are benchmarked against other large listed companies.

For a more detailed explanation of each of the 20 board effectiveness factors making up the WhatWhoHowDo framework please click here.

Nicholas Barnett

Executive Chair

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Dr. Susan Mravlek

Principal - Board & Governance

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What our clients say

Click here for more client testimonials.

Insync Testimonial
We appointed Insync to undertake Board performance reviews for our listed and unlisted boards. The review process was professional and performed to a high standard. Insync's evidence-based approach, interviews and review process culminated in practical and constructive recommendations. While our boards are already “high performing”, Insync was able to offer wise and practical advice to help us continually improve.
Scott Mahony

Head of Governance
Dexus

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