Evaluation of Family and external Board Members

The evaluation of the capacities, qualities and / or attitudes of the members of the Board of Directors, whether they are family or external and independent, presents a greater complexity and must be undertaken with greater delicacy and prudence.

The personal evaluation of board members must focus on their professional development as advisors and not so much on their control. Personal evaluations are effective as a means of personal improvement and their eminent positive and / or constructive sense.

On the other hand, a board member cannot consider himself fully trained and that there are no facets in which to improve or educate himself, in other words, to learn. The function executed by a Board member is eminently practical and dynamic, and their perfectionism is continuous.

Although the evaluation has the same fundamentals, it is obvious that an individual evaluation must be approached differently according to the Board member to be evaluated, whether it is a family member or an external advisor.

Family Board members:

In the family business there are fewer options to "freely choose" family members for the Board of Directors, as the amount is always limited. Therefore, in the case of board members who are part of the family, their evaluation should be very focused on "helping them improve" their abilities and aptitudes, accompanying them in the improvement process and suggesting to them when necessary to pursue managerial programs to further their skills as Board members.The members of the family who hold a position on the Board of Directors have a special need for this help that is provided by the individual evaluation, because unlike external directors, they do not usually have the privilege of being part of other Boards of Directors. In addition, in some cases, these family members also carry out management tasks in the company, so it is not easy for them to distinguish their managerial functions from their own or specific governance on the Board.

It is highly recommended that, in family businesses, external and independent board members as well as senior family board members personally accompany (coach) younger family members, in the process of improvement and personal training.

External and independent Board Members:

In the case of external and independent board members, the individual evaluation is very useful to prevent them from accommodating or diminishing their dedication and proactivity. This evaluation is especially convenient in those Boards of Directors that have a degree of professionalization, and that assume or accept the periodic rotation of some or many of its members.Although their experience in Board of Directors usually gives them a special qualification, their training can always be improved to expand their field of expertise to other areas of strategic interest for the company. Also, although their capacities and training can be superior to those of family board members, their aptitudes, behaviors and ways of working can always be the object of an enhanced practical harmonization to the circumstances of the team.
In all personal evaluations we use procedures that allow complete discretion and maintain a climate of positive improvement, otherwise, the Board of Directors risks generating a critical negative climate that incites mistrust amongst its members.

In our opinion, a professionalized personal evaluation is highly recommended every 3-5 years, and can be used as a skillful instrument to generate new work cycles in the Board of Directors.