Have your members evaluated their board?

In a recent post for SmartBlog Insights, I asked the question “Have your members evaluated the board?” As we know, board members are our most involved members. They also have a very different view of the association. A view that can be detrimental. It seems that there are checks and balances at the national level that aren’t available at the local level. A chapter board with a narrow view can be a difficult gatekeeper – keeping the national from hearing the member and the member from hearing national.

My question is what can national associations do to balance this? Can you provide training, evaluation tools, or self-assessment tools? Can you create a requirement that asks boards to either be evaluated or conduct a self-evaluation?

As so many of us working with chapters know, poor leadership sinks a chapter faster than anything else. How many times have we heard members say they have a poor volunteer leader who has a strangle-hold on the chapter and they don’t know what to do? While I was the Retailer’s Bakery Association, we had a local member call the office saying the old guard wouldn’t budge. We were in the midst of a membership change that created a unified national-local membership and the old guard didn’t like it. They had the checkbook and said simply that they wouldn’t release funds. It was a tough situation. We basically coached the emerging leaders to challenge the old guard’s right to speak for all. The situation was resolved with much grumbling. Had we helped these local groups much earlier by introducing board assessments the situation may have played out differently.