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Boards: Evaluate CEO Performance Regularly

by Leading Edge

Feedback loops are a key part of improving and achieving excellence. A well-designed process of ongoing CEO performance management can help CEOs learn how to grow and improve.

Unfortunately, Poor performance management is widespread at all levels of Jewish nonprofits. Many employees who take our annual Employee Experience Survey have reported that they do not receive meaningful annual performance reviews.

Performance management is especially important at the top of organizations, where professionals’ actions have the largest impact. Yet here the Jewish nonprofit sector is not alone in its failure to routinely evaluate CEO performance. In the 2015 Stanford survey of nonprofits, 80 percent of boards claimed to formally evaluate the performance of the executive director. However, the researchers found a significant number (39 percent) do not establish explicit performance targets against which the CEO's performance is measured.

Boards and CEOs alike should remember that performance management is a key tool not only for helping the CEO achieve more, but also for the long-term health of the organization. No CEO’s tenure lasts forever, and defining performance metrics and checking in with them over time will help the board understand what qualities they will need from the next CEO, whether succession is imminent or far away.

Learn more in the CEO Search Committee Guide.

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