Does Your Board Deserve An Olympic Gold

While scoring at the Winter Olympics  is often done subjectively (love those Russian ice skating judges), for many of the Winter Game’s competitors the determination of  who won and lost is as simple as who scores  the most points or went the fastest.  Clear winners, determined through a truly objective means (fastest, farthest, most points) is how most of us prefer  it. Subjective scoring leaves us uncomfortable.  That is of course, unless we are the ones doing the scoring.

In so many ways,  assessing a non-profit Board’s performance  is like judging figure skating at the Sochi games, or gymnastics at the Summer Games.  At the Olympics, we often feel that the judges know who they want to win and score accordingly.  This isn’t that dissimilar from a nonprofit Board, that when self-assessing its performance, gives itself a 9.2 instead of a more realistic 4.8. While many Board members might acknowledge the board’s weaknesses, the average Board  usually sees itself as deserving of at least a Bronze and maybe even a Silver.

The reason for this is obvious. How many nonprofits really want to admit to its most intimate and passionate supporters and funders that they are not doing the job that needs to be done?  Isn’t it easier, and less risky to let everyone think things are just fine? Subjective self-analysis, regrettably ends up painting an unrealistic and deceptive picture of the board’s actual performance.

The key question is not “is your Board worthy of standing on the Olympics podium”?  Rather, the question that really needs to be answered is are you standing there because of self-deluded subjective scoring, or because you have critically, honestly, and analytically scored your performance? Have you conducted a quantitative assessment and benchmarked yourself against the gold standards of non-profit Board performance?

Boards that are worthy of a Gold have one thing in common – they regularly (at least annually) evaluate and assess Board performance  as well as how individual members are doing in their board roles.  If you conduct such quantitative assessments, you are truly deserving of a medal . If not, now is the time to get off the couch and start doing the hard work of building a board of excellence. There is still time to earn a Gold when the Summer Games roll around in 2016.


Is your Board ready to stand on the platform? If you are interested in receiving a sample Board assessment tool please email me. If you are already assessing your board, I would be interested in sharing your methodology with other readers. 

Lou Feldstein is the Founder and CEO of Dynamic Change Solutions, and is available to help your Board win the GOLD. He is also available to provide training, assessments and motivational speeches.  

To learn more about my services please visit my website.

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