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Boardroom Evaluation – if not, why not?

The performance of the board and key executives should be reviewed regularly against both quantitative and qualitative outcomes.
following from what we do."
ASX Corporate Governance Council  

“While boards often become highly skilled at monitoring and improving the achievements of management, it is far less common for them to give effective consideration to their own performance (by an external consultant). Yet substantial benefits are available to the organization as a whole, to the board and to the individual directors”-

Henry Bosch The Director at Risk: Accountability in the Boardroom.
Pitman Publishing Melbourne 1995 

Delivery Options –

  • Breakfast or lunch presentation (1 hour)
  • Conference Presentation (1 hour)
  • Master Class (half day)
  • Coaching sessions around content

Brief summary

In the Australian principles-based jurisdiction, good governance strongly advocates that all boards participate in a periodic review process and, ‘if not, why not?’ Even when boards work together harmoniously and are successful, a well-conducted review can assist elite boards to proactively assess themselves, retrospectively and prospectively. Both directors and the group can benefit greatly from the process.

The boardroom is increasingly opening itself up to greater scrutiny and accountability. An effective evaluation process conducted by an external consultant can improve every aspect of governance as well as interpersonal interactions between directors and between board and management. Evaluation
can positively impact the ideas, the thinkers behind the ideas, the processes and the Solutions.

Key ideas covered

  • Brief history – the development of boardroom reviews over the decades
  • Current advocacy in favour of boardroom assessment
  • How it might profile individual performance, interpersonal relations, strategy, decision-making, outcomes?
  • Is it a compliance box ticking exercise or a performance enhancing strategy to the company?
  • Director receptivity and participation factors
  • Recommended time frames, different approaches, methodologies, metrics
  • Internal review v’s external review
  • The role of the consultant and challenges for the consultant-as-messenger
  • Importance of responsible follow-up to justify the time, energy and resources.
  • How it might be embedded in PD architecture.
  • Case studies – boardroom reviews conducted with diverse organisations profiling different approaches used, difficulties encountered, outcomes achieved and lessons learned.

Key objectives - the participants will get

  • An understanding of how the board evaluation process has evolved over the last decade.
  • Different approaches and orientations, the value of embracing it and the personal and organisational benefits of participation.
  • It will consider how the review process can empower and align directors’ individual goals and aspirations with that of the mission statement, to successfully confront internal and external challenges, in an increasingly complex environment.
  • Case Studies – Different review processes, how they were administered and what were the ups and downs of the process.

Delivery mode

  • Brief TED Presentation style format with minimal Power Point outline.
  • Informational, anecdotal case studies but evidenced-based
  • Q and A Interactive (particularly if the assessment task if completed by participant

I have been a director of CBH for 12 years. A co operative is a very dynamic, challenging and constantly evolving business entity and the preferred strategies and structures are often hotly debated. I have been significantly involved in several difficult strategy and structural transitions and it isn’t always plain sailing. Nevertheless, our dedicated team of directors and executives has succeeded in growing CBH to a world class Cooperative benefitting growers, communities and the nation.

I have observed many board consultants during my time and they mostly contribute value. However, none have attempted to understand and appreciate the complexities and value of the Cooperative business model to the extent as Robert Gordon. He is comfortable challenging behaviours when necessary, dedicated to appreciating every viewpoint and tireless in supporting ongoing alignment of directors, management and strategy. Robert lives and breathes his job with dedication and always goes the extra distance rarely seen in the majority of professionals today.

The board voted unanimously, extending his contract for another two years in recognition of this value. 

Wally Newman 
Chairman FAICD 
Cooperative Bulk Handling (CBH)

Robert Gordon assisted my Board finding answers to some difficult questions.
He facilitated an environment of non-adversarial discussion to profile the chemistry of the Board. Confidential interviews followed and he succeeded in keeping all members united during the process.
This process will assist any Director negotiating peer assessment and issues can be resolved without surprise resulting in a more productive and aligned board.
I highly recommend the unique professional skills that Robert brings to the sensitivities of problem solving at Board level.

Ian W King FAICD 
Chairman of the Board 
Mid West Ports

I have been involved in three very different organisations that Robert has conducted reviews on, from a massive supply chain business to a State-based sporting association NFP. Robert's insight into Board and management dynamics on each was spot on, and his education and advice to both the Board as a whole, and the individual directors personally, is very valuable. He has a real passion for what he does, is constantly exploring new ideas and always delivers more than promised. His process for reviews is the best I have seen, and results in actionable ideas for improvement, rather than just ticking a corporate governance box. I highly recommend Robert for your Board or management review.  

Non-Executive Independent Director 
St Barbara Ltd, Geraldton Fishermen's Cooperative and WA Super

Over a number of years I have worked with Robert on Boards/Executives that I have been a part of. At every instance Robert’s perseverance, professionalism and performance have added value to my organisations, most recently evidenced by the Board Assessment advice he provided at the WA Sports Federation in Perth, Western Australia in 2011 and 2012. He has been a pleasure to work with on all occasions at the 3 organisations he has helped me with improving.  

Michael Allenby BSc, FAICD

It is important that both the Board as a whole and individual Directors take the time to review and improve their performance. Over the last three years, the Geraldton Port Authority conducted such a review, which provided essential information for enhancement and growth for each Director. This process was led by Robert Gordon. He impressed me with his knowledge of the Boardroom, the review process he implemented and ability to get the best out of each Director. I have no doubt the process raised the performance level of the Board.

Robert is a strong advocate for gender equity and has certainly assisted me greatly in my own professional development. I have no hesitation in recommending Robert Gordon to any Board that wishes to take the journey on Board performance improvement. Robert is a conscientious, dedicated consultant that will bring out the best in any board environment.

Karen Godfrey
Deputy Chair