As boards focus on achieving greater effectiveness, directors are increasingly turning to outside advisors to assist them with the board evaluation process. The impact that a skilled expert can have on the quality of a board evaluation has led regulators and governments around the world to encourage more boards to adopt this practice.
“A board needs processes in place to evaluate and improve the performance of individual directors, board committees and the performance of the board as a whole.”
— Building High Performance Boards, the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance
Hansell McLaughlin Advisory is a leading facilitator of board evaluations. Working closely with directors, executives, and other board stakeholders, we offer thoughtful, actionable recommendations to improve the way directors engage with governance, strategic planning, and risk oversight.
Some of the factors which distinguish our board evaluation practice include:
We specialize in all aspects of governance. We provide advice on board process in a wide range of situations and assist boards in conducting skills gap analyses, constructing skills matrices, and establishing director succession and recruitment plans. We also provide boards with tailored governance and legal director education sessions. Our expertise in both governance concepts and how they are applied makes us more effective in both areas.
We have extensive experience conducting board evaluations for a wide range of organizations. Our approach targets critical issues and delivers actionable results. We know how to communicate with directors and executives, allowing us to make the most efficient use of their valuable time in our interviews or questionnaires. We understand the challenges boards encounter as they strive to achieve greater effectiveness and performance.
Our practice is focused on the legal and business aspects of governance. We do not offer a broader range of services that could impair our independence in the boardroom.
Governance is grounded in legal frameworks and requirements. As practicing lawyers, our understanding of the duties and obligations of corporate directors distinguishes us from other consultants. We have professional responsibilities to protect our clients’ confidential information.
Our governance expertise is complemented by a sophisticated data analytics practice. We leverage public and proprietary datasets to benchmark organizations against their peers, understand emerging trends in governance and communicate those findings clearly and intuitively to our clients. We have extensive experience applying our data analytics techniques on behalf of our clients, including with respect to benchmarking exercises.
No two board evaluations are the same. We work with board and committee chairs, corporate secretaries, and other stakeholders to determine an appropriate scope for each engagement. From there, we develop a work plan tailored to those requirements. Some of the approaches we frequently provide include:
Several board evaluations employ a questionnaire of some sort. They can be used in combination with interviews, or as a standalone approach. We favour concise and focused questionnaires which address specific areas of board effectiveness most relevant to our client’s board.
Interviews allow interviewees to express views and perspectives which may be difficult to convey through a questionnaire alone, including sensitive topics or topics that require substantial context.
In delivering our findings to the board, we emphasize concise, actionable recommendations that clearly outline the most significant opportunities for improving board effectiveness. We do this through various ways, including through a formal written report, PowerPoint presentations, or facilitated discussions.
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