Selecting a chief executive for a nonprofit organization is a crucial step, because this relationship should last for many years. The chief executive’s success, as well as that of the nonprofit, is linked directly to the effectiveness of the board-CEO relationship that is developed. Studies have shown that organizations with long-tenured CEOs tend to have high-performing boards.
Open Communication is Key
Creating the ideal relationship should be founded on open communication all year long, instead of waiting for an annual review for feedback. Ongoing conversation with board leadership ensures the CEO is on-point with their responsibilities and activities throughout the year. This process minimizes surprises by opening conversations on all topics and providing the board with bad news as well as good.
All participants should maintain high levels of respect for one another, with the understanding that board members may have differing opinions. Despite these differences, the board chair and CEO, working together collaboratively, can ensure the entire board functions at its highest possible level, which is why it is so important that the board works together in all areas of governance.
Supporting the Environment
The chief executive needs both organizational and personal support, which should include a periodic performance assessment. Excellent results should be rewarded through appropriate compensation and recognition.
Because the governing board provides the support needed by the chief executive, the board chair and chief executive need to have a quality relationship if a high-performing board is going to be achieved. This relationship sets the tone for the relationship that is formed between the chief executive and all other board members.
Some of the board members can be given the assignment of offering needed support for specific issues of concern. The team can work together in monitoring the chief executive’s morale, and making systematic adjustments as needed.
While performance reviews are important, it is a delicate topic that should be handled with care. Simple year-end checklists aren’t sufficient in evaluating the overall performance of the chief executive or other nonprofit leaders.
Keep in mind that the performance review process tends to be subjective. This process is more art than science, because some of the chief executives’ successes can’t be measured in data. A variety of strategic indicators and objective measures should be used in these regular reviews.
If you need assistance with supporting and evaluating your chief executive, then Mirenda & Associates is the team to call. We offer quality systems that have been proven effective in improving nonprofit organizations. Call today to learn more.