Thursday, January 15, 2015

Evaluating Association CEOs


A week or so ago, the local newspaper published the results of the school board’s semiannual performance evaluation of the local school district superintendent.

It got me to thinking about evaluating association CEOs and raised some concerns about how the school district is evaluating its superintendent.

Here are my thoughts about some of the key elements of the news of the school board’s performance evaluation of the school superintendent:

  • Conducting twice annually: good
  • Pre-established performance criteria: good
  • 3-point scale: okay (some may prefer a 5-point scale)
  • Providing open-ended comments: good
  • Making it open to the public: questionable
  • Sharing prior evaluations with new board members: questionable

Here are some concerns:
  • the 5-member school board is elected thus a political entity.
  • knowing that their ratings and comments will be public information could influence their evaluation (grandstanding for their constituents?).
  • Knowing that the person you are evaluating will know what you are saying can influence what you say.
  • If the board does not agree with the evaluation criteria (as this news story suggests), what does the Superintendent/CEO do?
  • Sharing old evaluations with new board members poses the potential to bias new evaluations.
Evaluating the CEO’s performance is an important function of a governing board. (And, so is the board evaluating itself and its own performance.)
  • [Getting their board to evaluate them is one common concern I’ve often heard from CEOS of state and local associations.]

Conducting evaluations in a politically-charged environment (which I’ve observed in this board over the last four years); however, can be counter-productive.

How does your organization’s board evaluate your CEO? Does it conduct the performance review with issues similar to those facing this school board? Where do you go to get help?

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