[Community-Discuss] Evaluating Performance of the Board

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Tue Dec 29 08:13:31 UTC 2015

>> That’s very hard to do. If you ask 10 different people what the AfriNIC board
>> should have as their number 1 priority, you may well get as many as 12 different
>> answers.
> hard but not impossible. one way or another, board agrees on some
> priority and its fruit/result can only become evident in 1 - 2 years
> time. i am interested in the simple weekly rituals board engages in to
> makes sure that priority will be attained and/or if it should be
> adapted.
> very rough example:
> priority: i want to publish a book by 2017
> a good indicator (predictor?) can be: how many words do i force myself
> to write every day/week
> logic being if someone is consistent in writing a 500 word every day,
> they are more likely to achieve the goal of writing enough for a book

Sure, but you’re missing the idea of how a board is supposed to work.

In this case, you’re talking about how well a goal is executed.

That is how you evaluate the CEO and the staff. Evaluating the board involves
a determination if the goal that they directed the CEO to pursue was the correct
goal for the membership and the community. Further, one wants to evaluate whether
the board gave the CEO the tools/authority/latitude/resources necessary to execute
those goals.

Now wha I’ve said in the preceding paragraph may be controversial to some. I don’t
have an MBA or any sort of credential, so just following my ideas blindly probably
isn’t the best thing to do.

However, that’s my best understanding of the role of a board and how they should be

If you evaluate the board on execution, then a good staff and CEO will cover very
well for a lousy board and you can get fantastic execution of really bad goals and

Definitely not what this community needs IMHO.

>> As I have said a few times in this thread, attempting to dictate the basis on which
>> others evaluate board candidates is unlikely to produce a useful result.
> I agree with you. I am not asking for criteria to evaluate individual
> candidates, rather looking for ways to evaluate performance of the
> board as the whole which you go into below :-)

Well… Actually I intended that to be guidelines about how I go about evaluating the
performance of individual candidates. OTOH, boards are small enough groups that it’s
hard to separate individual performance from group performance. If one individual is
not performing well, they will drag down the whole body. If the body is performing
well, then it’s a pretty good indication that each of the members is also performing

>> If you are asking for advice on how you should evaluate board member performance,
>> then I would suggest the following:
>> 1.      Consider what you think should be the primary things AfriNIC focuses on.
>> 2.      Look at the minutes of board meetings and voting record of board members.
>> 3.      Compare the data from item 2 to your thoughts on item 1 and decide
>>        whether you feel that the actions in item 2 match the goals in item 1 or not.
> this is a reasonable place to start with the caution that what afrinic
> focuses on determine largely by it strategic plan. not sure if that is
> responsibility of board or ceo but i assume board must at least
> approve a plan produce by staff. so in a way, community can hold board
> for ensure that the strategy is fit where afrinic want to go.

The strategic plan is the responsibility of the board, but remember, the CEO
is a member of the board and he should definitely have a lot of input in that

Think of it like this… The board is the steering committee. The visionaries.
They have the responsibility to select the destination and set the mission

The CEO and the staff are the captain and crew of the ship. They have the
responsibility to chart the course and steer the ship safely to the destination
while achieving the other mission goals along the way.

> so, i what about following informations that are tracked and reported
> regularly on public website and at meetings
> a) Monthly or quarterly board meeting attendance record i.e. % of
> board members that attend each meeting not who attended or did not
> attend

Contained in the minutes.

> b) Number of resolutions

Contained in the minutes

> c) Voting record on various issue raise in board meeting

Should be contained in the minutes.

> d) Issues of focus (as determine from resolutions/minute i.e.) will
> tell us what board spend most of their time on

Should be contained in the minutes.

> as you indicate above, these actions above here should correlate to
> achieving the priorities. if they don't  ... then something wrong.
> also combination of priorities should get afrinic towards its mission
> (better service to region, financial sustainabilite, etc etc) ...if
> not then priorities are wrong


> i admit board job is voluntaire so we cannot measure thing out of normal duties.

A volunteer job should be evaluated like any other job. Sure, to get volunteers to
continue to work as volunteers, sometimes you have to cut them some slack or provide
some perks as incentive. In my case, ARIN treats me very well and I get some pretty
nice travel opportunities as part of my service to the ARIN community. OTOH, I don’t
expect that I am not held to a high standard of work in what I do there just because
I am a volunteer. Indeed, I would not even hope to get re-elected if I was not doing a
good job of representing the ARIN members that elected me.

>>> should we add that check and balance formally to responsabilite of governance
>>> committee? i belief good performance and good governance go hand in
>>> hand.
>> The devil is in the details here. We should not, IMHO, make the board accountable
>> to a committee that effectively serves at the pleasure of the board. That creates
>> a number of conflicts of interest around how the committee is selected, how
>> the committee performs its duties and how the committee can communicate
>> with the community and the membership.
> +100 governance council in my opinion should come from community &
> members and report to community and members and not board. the council
> can then use a set of measures like suggested above (plus others) to
> do their work.

I disagree. Setting up a secondary committee that takes direction from the
membership (and/or community) is a recipe for disaster and fractious dysfunction
throughout the organization. It’s like hiring two captains to pilot a ship and
then having one of them report to the owners of the ship and having the other
one report to the passengers. No good can come of that.

>> The governance committee, IMHO, should be focused on issues of process and
>> procedure to ensure that the processes and procedures in place are serving the
>> community and provide adequate controls to ensure that the governance of
>> AfriNIC does not stray too far from the ideals of the community without the
>> community being able to apply necessary corrections.
> indicators will be
> - how many times was process A executed this year
> - how many times was there violation/compliance

Not really. Those metrics don’t really tell you anything.

It’s quite a bit more complicated than that and if simple metrics would tell us
what we needed to know, we wouldn’t need a committee to sort the issues out.

> uhhhh. ....... seems like lot of work  ..... but that's price of good
> governance.

Yes… It’s even more work than you think, but, yes, it is the price of good


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