Assessing Nonprofit CEO Performance

Assessing Nonprofit CEO Performance

By Eugene Fram

CEO assessment should be very thorough and take place annually.  That doesn’t mean that it always has to take place at one time.  In some situations, assessment occurs throughout the year, depending on how the committee members decide to divide their tasks.

After completing the entire review, the assessment committee should make its report to the full board.   If the review takes place periodically throughout the year, board updates follow a similar pattern.

The CEO has to understand that the full board must make some subjective judgments on the assessment committee’s findings.  He or she must be strong enough to live with these judgments.  The board establishes the outcomes but not how to achieve them.  Hopefully, the CEO is involved in developing the “rules” for making the judgments.

Every CEO is going to be criticized– that happens in every creative, dynamic organization, and it shows the nonprofit is on the move.  What upsets some managers is that the criticism may be made public in a written report.  However, it is a reminder that all managers need to recognize the need to improve performances in some ways.

If the assessment is fair and robust, the CEO can be far more creative.  The CEO’s responsibility is to live within the mission, budget and guidelines set by the board.

However boards should not get involved with how many computer disks, room dividers and paper clips that are purchased or involved with endless discussions about minor operating personnel issues. 

Source: Policy vs. Paper Clips – Third Edition 2011, pp. 67-69.

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