General Questions

What is a Board Evaluation?

A Board Evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of Board performance – ultimately making that Board stronger. Effective board evaluations benchmark against best practices and individual Board performance year-to-year, and educate Directors on governance issues – functions that require deep, domain experience, governance expertise and scientific research methodologies.

Why do we call our evaluation tools

Because our tools are designed to inform and educate directors, and shine light on key board performance indicators. Further, we have applied a scientific construct to the manner in which evaluation questions are asked, which extracts unbiased, truer, and more accurate information.

Who should use The Board Institute indexes?

Any company with a board of directors and/or committees. Whether your organization is large or small, public or private, for-profit or non-profit, our indexes will enable more-informed decisions and improved performance. Our indexes are also a perfect complement to the board evaluation processes your company may already have in place, helping to make your internal administrator’s or consultant’s efforts to the next level.

Who should participate in the evaluation?

Typically, respondents include board members, and, at the board’s discretion, those who work with the board (non-director officers, outside auditors, legal counsel, board consultants, etc.).

Why should I choose The Board Institute?

Simply put, because The Board Institute is the only company offering a suite of independent, web-based evaluation tools and benchmarking data to help boards discreetly assess and enhance their effectiveness. Further, we are the only company who has coupled a deep understanding of both board leadership, board management, regulation and governance with a scientific, accredited, educational methodology. The questions, analysis, response ranges and best practices that make up our technology-enabled Indexes are developed in collaboration with leading experts in corporate governance and survey research methodologies.

How was your methodology developed?

Our methodology and content were developed in cooperation with Directors and officers, and experts in governance and management, research, law, accounting practices, ethics, and regulation.

How long does the evaluation take?

Our methodology and content were developed in cooperation with Directors and officers, and experts in governance and management, research, law, accounting practices, ethics, and regulation.

How long does the evaluation take?

Yes. Our evaluations are 100% secure, confidential, and anonymous. You should have confidence that your directors are safe, secure and free to be as candid as possible. We do not store your company’s name in our database. Instead we assign your company a number, so there is no identifying information within the system. We do not store any personal information that could identify any respondents. In fact, individual responses are anonymous throughout, and The Board Institute has no knowledge of the identity of any individuals who may respond. Furthermore, any comparative information is only provided in aggregate.

What is included in the results?

The Board Institute delivers a comprehensive analysis and report, immediately after the evaluations are complete, that includes an inventory of: composite scores, response ranges, variances, strengths, anonymous comments, targeted best practices, Sarbanes-Oxley laws, exchange mandates and regulatory requirements. Some particularly valuable results are: the five areas where the board is strongest, five areas where it can improve, and the five areas where there is the greatest disagreement among respondents.<br><br> Your Index results highlight the areas that your board should focus on over the ensuing year. The score that you receive is an indication of how well the respondents believe the board is set up to succeed, from the perspective of its structure, policies and practices. By completing the evaluation each year you can track your progress. In addition, we will be providing statistics by industry so you can see how other boards (in aggregate) are doing. We urge our customers to use the score as an internal benchmark, and focus on what the results uncover.

Why not do this data-gathering and analysis in-house?

An internally developed questionnaire and analysis has several flaws. First is the sheer breadth and depth of the information gathered. The Board Institute efficiently gathers responses on over 70 scientifically developed dimensions. This simply isn’t practical to conduct in-house. Second, internally developed methods run the risk of bias and conflicts of interest. Third, a comprehensive, independent, objective assessment is a stronger validator to the marketplace than an internal evaluation. Fourth, our tools save your team time, work, and resources.

Questions About the Indexes and the Methodology

How do you protect against respondents gaming the system - giving all top scores to make their board look good?

Fortunately, most people, when rating with anonymity, respond honestly. We expect a slight positive skew, about 0.5 to 0.8 scale points because that is normal with assessments of this type. The modest rating inflation is approximately equal across boards.

How can I be sure my rating will stay anonymous?

Anonymity is a key component to TBI’s value. Without it, each respondent would predictably
over-rate each item, skewing the results severely to the high end of the scale.
Such inflated ratings would be meaningless and provide no value for analysis,
motivation or education.

uses a series of assurances to respondents regarding the confidentiality of
responses. These assurances are:

  • Posted on TBI web site
  • Stated in the letter of agreement that initiates TBI process
  • Included in TBI pre-training
  • Included in TBI introduction
  • Included in TBI instructions

Our commitment to respondent anonymity is absolute. Research and legal actions have
demonstrated that anonymity made in TBI responses are sustainable, even in legal

Why not use a 5 point rating scale?

Our extensive research on small-sample consensus decision processes indicate a 5 point scale yields almost no differentiation across questions or among boards. A 5 point scale predictably yields scores of 4.2 plus or minus 0.4. With such a narrow range of ratings, the results are not educational, motivational or useful.

Why does the BI not ask more questions?

While TBI ask more questions than would be practical using an offline method, our intent is to balance efficiency with completeness. A complete inventory would require several hundred questions, which would cause respondent fatigue and would impact the quality of the results. TBI uses carefully screened questions that represent the most important issues for most boards.

Can our board use questions that are unique to our situation?

Absolutely, the BI design offers the flexibility to add one or more questions that are unique to a specific board or group of boards.

How are TBI scores best used?

TBI provides various meaningful measures and benchmarks from which to make important board decisions. Perhaps the most meaningful analysis is where your strengths (high scores) and weaknesses (low scores) lie. The context and situation of each board is unique and should drive the process of board improvement based on these types of comparisons.

How can TBI scores be compared with other boards when each has a different set of evaluators?

Extensive research on this question has shown that scores of boards with more than eight respondents are comparable, with a few exceptions. TBI’s scoring and reporting process flags the unusual case where the consensus created by a board has high variance or low reliability. However, as stated above, the most useful use of TBI scores is to compare with self, internal comparisons.

How are the norms created?

Norms used for comparison are created from large samples of boards. Sometimes these large samples are segmented for the purpose of industry or type-of-board comparisons. TBI uses an important safeguard for norms. Those few boards whose consensus measures show high variance or low reliability are dropped before creating the norms.

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