A board management maturity is a tool that can help to assess how your board is managing itself. Its purpose is to help board members improve performance and help make the business more successful. The process usually involves an assessment that is self-administrated and then a discussion with consultants to interpret the results. Most models use a scale of three to five levels to assess the various aspects of your board’s performance. The first level is characterized by impromptu procedures that do not have formal standards or alignment, while the third and fourth levels have more identified and included processes.
The most important feature of any maturity model is how it is designed to prioritize learning for your board. When you know what your board’s current state is it is easy to determine what you’ll require to acquire next. Some models also provide general estimates of how long it takes to reach the level at which you are currently (e.g. “A level change will take approximately six months with a 25% reduction in productivity”.
The majority of boards begin at the lowest level of maturity, the grudgingly compliant ones who are aware of their responsibilities and personal exposure. They are reluctant to allocate more time and money than is necessary to governance, since it distracts them from their primary tasks of managing.
They must be taught to understand that ‘governing,’ a distinct, different and very different job, is not the same thing as executive management. It requires a totally distinct level of professional development assessment, training, and funding. It’s a risky undertaking that tests your imagination as well as your understanding and willingness to take calculated risks in the complex and interconnected world of economics and politics.