8. ED evaluations: protecting yourself

There are some Boards which do...

thoughtful,

caring,

accurate

evaluations of their EDs every year like clockwork and God bless every single one of them.

On this page, though I want to talk about the rest of the Boards, because I can't begin to tell you how many EDs never get an evaluation, or worse than that, get crazy, hurtful evaluations.

 

Great leader, no evaluation
Some Boards don't evaluate their ED. Some don't understand how important it is. Some don't seem to care.

And some Boards blow off the evaluation intending to be kind...

"You're so great we don't need to evaluate you. Everyone knows how good you are."

They mean this as a compliment. They're maybe thinking that most people don't like evaluations so we'll spare our ED that chore.

But every ED deserves to get a complete, formal, written evaluation every year. Why? Because...

If you do good work, you should be honored for it, you should be witnessed and thanked.

And because...

You're a nonrpfit professional and this is part of being a professional.

And because...

It can help you build on your strengths and improve your performance snd what's not to like about that?

And because...

It helps to know just where you stand with your Board.

And last, but not least, because...

An evaluation is a matter of self-defense.

Why would I bring self-defense into the discussion? Because of stories like this...

I started my nonprofit ten years ago. They've been hard years but rewarding. I love this place.

My staff are behind me 100%. I've got tons of fans in the community. I get rave reviews on the work I do. But my Board won't put any of this in writing. I tried to get an evaluation out of them for a few years in a row, then gave up.

But three months ago a wave of new people came onto the Board and now I've got a new Chair. From my first meeting with her, I could tell she didn't like me. She didn't shake my hand. She didn't look at me when I was talking with her. She didn't smile once. Her brow was furrowed with lines of judgment. The chill was unnerving. And it still is.

Since she's taken office she's hounded me with criticisms. She's started writing me up for things I'm not getting done. But they're all trivial things that I wouldn't ever put on my list of priorities and that don't matter to the life of the organization. I can't imagine she really cares about those things either.

But it's like a flood. In the past two weeks, I've been getting e-mails every day, sometimes three or four.

A Board ally called me at home last night and lowered his voice like he was scared and told me this Chair has started talking about maybe it's time to replace me.

So I went by my lawyer's office this morning. He told me to bring in all my evaluations from the past ten years. I've got nothing.

We're still going to fight this. I'm going to organize my supporters and friends and fans. My lawyer is writing a letter to the Board saying it can't harass an employee or set an employee up for failure to see if that will get the Chair to back off.

But I'd be in a stronger position if I had a detailed, official, irrefutable record of what I've done for this nonprofit, which is my baby.

 

Into the twilight zone
What is it about evaluating the ED that makes some Boards lose their grip on common sense?

Jillian:
I xeroxed copies of the objectives the Board had approved at the beginning of the year which were tied in with our grant contracts. The committee didn't want to see them. They went out for beer and drew up a list of the things they thought it would have been nice if I had accomplished. Not tied in with anything. And then they evaluated me on those retroactive objectives!

Jackson:
Last year Sylvia was the Chair and she wanted lots of narrative for my self-assessment. She doesn't like numbers. I assumed the Board wanted the same this year, but Pamela, the new Chair, was mad at me: "I want ratings. Don't give me all that talky stuff. Don't you know anything about evaluations?" It went downhill from there.

Jade:
They wrote down that I'm not diplomatic enough. I've got three years of training in community reconciliation. I'm the one who mediates disputes at the coalition. Three times the mayor has called me in to lead talks between rival gang leaders. My partner says that diplomacy is my middle name.

But the Board had gotten a complaint. And who was it from? The ED of a competing nonprofit that thinks it should take over our programs and our funding. Our top funder calls them predatory. But my Board says it's up to me to make them happy.

Jurelle:
My evaluation was like a collection of all the memos they didn't send me during the year. Eleanor said, "I wanted you to set up a way for Board members to visit the programs and that didn't happen. That needs to be part of your correction plan. It has to happen this year. No more putting it off."

I tell every new Board member that we'd love to have them visit the programs, that we think that's a crucial thing for Board members to do, and we can set it up at their convenience.

Every Board meeting, the last thing I say in my director's report is that we'd love to have Board members visit the programs.

So what do I do now? Do I tell Eleanor she's out of touch and make her mad? Or do I suck it in and make me mad?

Johnnie:
They didn't even remember that mid-year they had voted to close an old program and replace it with a new one. It was the right decision. The new program is a grand success, as they would have known if they read my monthly reports and paid attention during Board meetings. But it was totally off their radar screens.

They complained that I hadn't given them current stats on the old program. I reminded them that it didn't exist anymore. By their own decision. They looked abashed then got huffy. They decided to blame me for their astonishing ignorance. They said I had to improve my communication with the Board and they put me on a correction plan.

Jora:
They decided to have each member send their comments about me to the Board secretary who pasted them all into the form, and that was my evaluation. So for example, I had both of these comments...

"One of her greatest strengths is her warm and friendly presence. She always treats people with respect. She listens carefully to what you're saying. She has a way of acknowledging people that just always makes you feel great."

"I've never liked her. She's cold and withholding. She doesn't seem to have time for anyone but herself. She should get over this. She should get a new personality. And she should be on probation till she does."

What am I supposed to do with that? The eval was sent to me by e-mail. No one talked with me. No one seemed to care that I might have feelings about what was in there. I don't think anyone but the secretary ever saw the whole thing.

I don't think I'm going to put it in my personnel file. I think I'm just going to throw it out.

Josie:
Not one person on the committee had read all the way through my self-assessment. Shouldn't that disqualify them from passing judgment?

As if those stories are not strange enough, it gets even stranger...

Jean-Louis took over an organization in trouble financially and also under attack because they work on gay rights and equality issues. Within a year he brought in half a million in new funding. He replaced the three program directors with a much higher level of talent.

And then the organization started getting lots of publicity because suddenly their work was so good. He built strong relationships with a majority of the politicians in the region and built a constituency of business leaders.

Mid-year, the Board asked him to take on a special project they had thought up one night over pizza. Jean-Louis explained why no one would fund it and why the community wouldn't support it, but the Board insisted. So Jean-Louis gave it his best, and his best is amazing, and the project failed for exactly the reasons he predicted.

On his evaluation, he got a 10 on every single thing except he was criticized in a rambling paragraph for the special project.

He said to Mervyn, the head of the evaluation committee, "That was your project, you insisted on it, and I told you why it would fail and I was right, so why are you including it here?"

Merv said, "Well, we know we were wrong about it, but this is an evaluation and we had to ding you on something and that's all we had."

What happened next? How long did it take Jean-Louis to get a great new job? Less than a week. "I know I'm hot. I don't have to stick around to be treated like that."

So they lost the best ED they could ever want. And these were bright, successful people on this Board, but somehow they wandered off into the twilight zone of dumb moves and got lost in there.

And it gets not only stranger but meaner...

Jamie took her organization from deep deficit to giant surplus in one year of very hard work. She boosted morale tenfold. The staff rave about how she saved the organization, but she got a trashy evaluation.

And why? Because three society women dominate the Board. They're the queen bees. Whenever they talk about Jamie, they buzz with tiny angers. They try to hide how jealous they are, but you can see it.

From their point of view the Jamie is too good. She eclipses them anytime they're in the same room with her. Of course, Jamie puts in 60-hour weeks while they do nothing except gossip.

They complain that Jamie hogs all the attention. And it's true that Jamie's in demand—for press interviews, TV talk shows, and keynotes. She knows the issue and she knows how to put it across.

But it's also true that she sends her staff out to do the majority of the talks and interviews. She's not hogging. She's building a depth of leadership. One of the many reasons her staff loves her.

Jamie's easily in the 99th percentile of EDs in terms of her performance. Everyone sees that except for these three society ladies who took it upon themselves to do her evaluation which they filled with catty comments and concluded with a rating of "unacceptable."

Which is actually what their evaluation was. So Jamie handed it back to them. Which made them angrier and crazier, but finally that was too much for the rest of the Board and they stepped in and held an emergency election for new officers.

And sometimes what an ED gets is simple but profound disrespect...

June:
In front of the Board, Marlee said, "I want to do your evaluation, June. I get a correction plan every year and I think you should, too. Just to keep you on your toes." And then she gave me a big smile and a wink.

No one objected. No one defended me.

What they don't get is that I started this organization. I put my heart into it every single day. Very long days. There's no one who fights for this organization like I do. And I should get a correction plan from a Board that does nothing to help? Or from a person who apparently performs so badly on her own job that's she's always on a correction plan?

They want to judge me but they can't even see who I am.

I feel insulted, I feel angry, but then I stop and take a breath and all I can think is, what a sad group of people.

 

Being proactive on your own behalf
Here's what Meghan said last year....

"Hi, Jed. It's time for my annual evaluation. Let me know how you want to handle it."

Seems reasonable enough. But watch out for those open-ended statements. The Board improvised and Meghan was sorry.

So this year, Meghan said to her new Chair...

"Hey, Wesley, it's time for my annual evaluation.

"Here's my completed self-assessment with my list of accomplishments and my goals for the coming year.

"Here are the forms we use for evaluations.

"And here are the guidelines we all follow for evaluations so we have a consistent and high-quality process throughout the organization."

She took charge. She set boundaries. She set things up so she has her best chance of getting a decent evaluation.

Of course, there's no guarantee. Some Boards are going to go screwy on you no matter what you do. But taking charge means that...

If this is a Board that would otherwise procrastinate forever, you've already taken them through the first step by giving them your self-assessment. The process is already in motion. They don't have to initiate, because you've already done that.

Or if this Board has someone on it who wants to do some weird thing for your evaluation, you've already taken a strong stand for the organization's standard process.

What if one of your Board members erupts with her own ideas at the next Board meeting? You don't have to get emotional. It's not personal. It's just a matter of fact. It's a matter of policy...

Lottie:  Oh, but I love to create processes. Let me do your evaluation. I could make up something really good.

Meghan:  That's so sweet, but you know, we have a policy and we need to follow it.

Lottie:  But this could be fun. I really, really want to do this. Can't we do this, huh, can't we?

Meghan:  No, I'm sorry, but we have to evaluate all staff the same way, otherwise we'd be opening ourselves to a charge of discrimination.

Lottie:  Really?

Meghan:  Yes, really. And besides we've put a lot of time into developing a high-quality evaluation that works really well for giving staff accurate feedback and challenging them to develop themselves and keep doing better and better. It's a very thorough process.

And it's professional. We worked closely with an HR expert to finalize it and make sure we had all our legal i's dotted and t's crossed.

Maybe we can find something else fun for you to do. I'd be glad to brainstorm with you.

Lottie:  Oh, okay. Yes, let's brainstorm.

The first best thing you can do in defending yourself is to play offense...

Make sure you have a high-quality evaluation process in place in your nonprofit.

Make it policy.

Make sure, if you can, that the policy states explicitly that the ED is to be evaluated by this process, too.

If you're at a nonprofit where the Board doesn't vote on personnel policies, you can just write yourself into the policy.

Otherwise, feel out the Board members and see if they will vote for this. And if not, you can still argue the case, that you as ED are staff and the process that's in place covers all staff, which certainly therefore includes the ED.

And if you think there should be a special format for the ED evaluation, write that into the policy.

 

Asking for what you need
Here are two sweet strategies:

1.  Request who you want.
Of course, this won't work with all Board chairs, but if you have a decent relationship with your Chair, you can make a request and you might just get what you want.

Rob:  I wanted to remind you, which actually I know I don't need to do because you're on top of everything, that it's time for your evaluation next month. So you can turn in your self-assessment to me whenever you're done with it, and then I'll figure out who's going to do the evaluation.

You:  Great. I'll be ready on time.

And you know, I've been thinking about this some. And I'm wondering if I could make a request. Feel free to tell me no if this doesn't work for you.

Rob:  Okay, what is it?

You:  All year I've been calling on Carly and Sadie for advice. And they've not only been really good to strategize with, but they've given me a lot of tips for taking my leadership to the next level.

I'm wondering if you would be willing to ask them to do my evaluation?

Rob:  That might not sound right to some of the Board members, it might seem like soft-balling your evaluation if they're that involved with you.

You:  Rob, you know how intense I am about professional development. You know that I'm always pushing myself. I don't want soft-balling at all. I really think Carly and Sadie would give me the most useful, and actually the most challenging feedback, to help me move forward. I  mean, they're already doing that and I want more.

Rob:  Okay, I do know that about you. You're always trying to do better. I can stand by that.

It's an unusual request, and I'm turning it over in my mind, but I can't see anything wrong with it. Okay, I'm going to go with it. Carly and Sadie are seriously great leaders. It makes sense to have people with their experience do your evaluation and work with you to set your professional development goals.

Hmm, the more I think about this, the more I like it.

You:  Thanks!

 

2.  Recruit someone onto your Board to be your advocate and your evaluator.
Now if you've got a great Board that's on your side and treats you with respect, there's no need for this. But otherwise, you might find it really helpful.

The idea is to find a friend or colleague who's willing to join your Board and take a stand for you as needed. Or maybe you and another ED would join each other's Boards and help each other out.

Here's Nancy's story:

I have a Board that doesn't get it about nonprofits. Mostly they're full of good intentions gone awry. But two of them are tougher, they like to shoot first and ask questions later.

My friend Kate heard me grousing and asked if she could help.

So I got her voted onto the Board. At the last meeting, this conversation happened...

Martha:  Nancy, what's with you? These are not the numbers I asked for. I asked for the numbers to be current as of tonight's meeting. These are from last month. What's with your generation? A bunch of slackers!

Kate:  Martha, hold on. First of all, the quarter ended on the last day of last month, so those are the numbers Nanci gave us. She was able to generate that report in two minutes from the program database. These are the official numbers we send in to our funders. And they tell us everything we need to know about our programs.

It would have taken her an extra hour to round up the last seventeen days of numbers because they haven't been entered into the system yet. And I think the last thing we should be doing as a Board is asking the ED to do anything that's a waste of her time. She has more than enough urgent things on her plate every day as it is.

That's first, and second, Nancy is a remarkable leader. She's the one who's made this place a success. We're lucky to have her. And it's my request that every Board member speak to her with respect. It's my request that we not shoot first and ask questions later. It's my request that we ask questions and not do any shooting at all.

Now, would you tell me back what you heard me say, so I can know I was being clear? And would you let me know your response?

Martha:  You're saying, Don't give Nancy a hard time. And I wasn't, I just wanted what I wanted. But okay, I'll be nicer next time.

Here's what I love about Kate being on my Board. She breaks the spell when things get nutsy. She brings them back to solid ground. She says things in such a reasonable way, it's hard to argue with her. And everyone knows that if they behave badly toward me, they're going to hear about it from Kate instantly.

I still need to replace a bunch of these folks, but I'm not dreading the meetings like I used to.

And then when the Chair announced it was time for my evaluation and asked for a volunteer, Kate jumped on it. No one else on this Board is ever eager to do that kind of actual work, so the Chair just shrugged and said okay. Which means this year I'm getting a sane evaluation instead of a nightmare.

Talk about an amazing friend! I've started calling her my Advo-Kate!

 

Taking a stand for yourself
If you're in the mood, you can try some bold moves:

1.  You've asked and asked and the Board still won't do your evaluation.
First, this caution: You really have to think through who is on your Board and how they will respond.

But in the spirit of self-defense...

a.  If the Board won't do an evaluation...
You could say to your Board chair:

"Here's a copy of my completed self-assessment. Since the Board has decided not to do my evaluation, would you be willing to sign this note saying that as Board chair, you're approving this assessment as my official evaluation for this year? Then I'll put it in my personnel file."

If he declines, you could say:

"Then here's another note that says I'm doing such a good job as ED, that the Board has decided they don't need to do a review of me this year."

What I've just given you are negotiation strategies designed to drive someone to a decision when they are being so waffley you want to pour syrup on them.

But use them carefully. You don't want your Chair to punish you for being pushy.

b.  Do your own assessment and document the Board's refusal.
How will this help? Here's an example:

Say that it's been three years since you've been evaluated. But each year right on time, you've done your self-assessment and you've sent three e-mails to your Board chair asking for your evaluation. You attach those unanswered e-mails to your assessment and put that packet into your personnel file.

This documents your accomplishments and that you're not trying to avoid an evaluation. Quite the contrary.

Now let's say Kia comes on to the Board:

Kia:  By the way, when was your last evaluation?

You:  Three years ago.

Kia:  Three years ago? That's not right. How have you managed to slip out of your evaluations?

You:  I haven't.

Kia:  What do you mean?

You:  I've asked for an evaluation each year.

Kia:  You have?

You:  Yes. In fact, I'll ask again right now. Would you be willing to do my evaluation?

Kia:  Well, sure, I guess.

You:  Really?

Kia:  Okay, yes, really.

You:  In my personnel file I have my completed self-assessments for the past three years, along with the copies of the three written requests I made each year to have an evaluation done.

Kia:  My God.

You:  Is there some way you could do an evaluation covering those past years and then when this year is done, do this year, too? Is that asking too much?

Kia:  Not at all. I'm really sorry. I didn't understand what was going on here. I was jumping to the wrong conclusion. I apologize.

Listen, I'm going to fix this. I'm going to talk with the Board chair and insist that I be empowered to carry out your evaluations, all of them. As many as you want.

You:  Thank you!

Kia:  And I want you to know I really mean this, so get out your calendar and let's set a time for our first meeting.

You:  Cool. And by the way, we have an excellent evaluation process in place. You can just follow that. I'll get you the forms before you go.

c.  What if you have turnover and there's a new Chair who's out to get you?
If she's trashing your reputation and claiming that you are a failing leader, you've got those three years of assessments and the documents that demonstrate the Board's inaction to take to your lawyer. So you've got something instead of nothing.

And a good lawyer has all kinds of tricks up their sleeve. He can argue that the Board's inaction means they had no complaints whatsoever about you. And he can write a letter telling the new Chair to stop damaging your professional reputation.

If she's an amateur bully, she might well back off or even quit the Board. I've seen that happen. If she's a professional bully, then you're in deeper waters and give me a call if you want to brainstorm some other strategies.

 

2.  Do a performance audit as an evaluation.
You could hire an HR consultant or program evaluator or anyone with professional credibility to come in and do a performance audit of your work for the past year.

They can go through the contracts and see that all obligations were met. They can go through last year's evaluation, if you had one, or they can go through your list of objectives for the year and note how many were accomplished.

You can have them talk to people, like some of your staff, or have them administer a 360 if you're in the mood for that. Maybe have them interview the Board chair. You get to make this up. You want this review to be accurate, but since your Board has defaulted, if a review is going to happen it's up to you, so do it your way.

Then you have the reviewer write up a report which you put it in your personnel file and call your evaluation for the year.

You can make this a big deal with lots of interviews and a long report. Or you can make it really quick, just a couple interviews and a one page summary report. The point is for you to get confirmation of the quality of your work in writing.

You might tell the Board you're doing a performance audit and they might not think anything about it. You might tell the Board you're doing since they refused to do your evaluation and they might assent or they might get mad. Or you might not tell your Board anything and just do this on your own as a matter of self-defense. You get to decide what's best depending on your particular situation.

You can do bold moves, if you want, but they raise the question...

Why should any ED ever have to go to such lengths just because their Board won't do the right thing?

So let's look next at the context in which evaluations happen.

 

Putting yourself in a stronger position throughout the year
Here are some ongoing strategies to consider:

Make a correction plan for your Board
The quality of the ED evaluation process is often more diagnostic of the Board than it is of the ED. If your Board is neglectful or abusive, then you have the right to go about recruiting new people with good character and good common sense and you have the right to upgrade your Board.

If anyone on your Board understands what's wrong and wants to help you make changes, that's great. Otherwise, you privately evaluate the Board, figure out a correction plan, and carry it out.

 

Keep your relationship with your Board warmed up.
I'm going write up a whole page on what I call the Insider Newsletter. Meanwhile here's the skinny. Whenever you have a piece of good news—you got a grant, you got an award, you got a great comment from someone—you e-mail that right out to your Board.

Or maybe you what to tell a quick story with a thank you. Here's something that happened today in our program. Wish you could have been here with us. Wanted you to know. Thanks for all you do to make such breakthroughs possible for the kids we work with.

The e-mail is always short and it's always good news or thank yous. You use the same subject line each time, like "Sound bites" or "Top of the news from TAP." That way your Board members will know it'll only take a minute to read and it'll make them feel great.

You only send them when you have something good to send. You might send two this week and then none for the next two weeks.

Lots of Board members only connect with the ED in the formal setting of the monthly meetings. Not the best way to build a working relationship. And especially since the ED often has to deal with money problems or crises in the director's report.

And if a Board member misses a meeting or two, they hardly know you. So at evaluation time, you're like a stranger, which makes it easier to do screwy things to you.

The Insider Newsletter is a virtual way to have frequent contact with your Board and position yourself as the good news guy or the upbeat gal.

Oh, and the Insider Newsletter takes almost no time at all. It really is a matter of minutes.

 

Tell your leadership story
Lots of director's reports focus on facts and figures and results. This makes sense. Unless you have a supportive Board why would you want to open up and tell the behind-the-scenes story of your leadership.

But that story says so much about who you are and helps the Board understand what it takes to lead this organization they supposedly, hopefully care a lot about.

So see if there are some ways to talk about the strategic decisions you make in order to deal with crises or opportunities. Talk about the ways you're building bench strength in your organization. Tell some stories about your staff stepping up to higher levels of performance. Pass on comments you've gotten from funders or the community about how much they appreciate your work.

Take the Board behind the scenes as much as they are willing to go there with you and to the extent that you judge is safe for you to do that. The more they understand the challenge of the work, the better decisions they can make. The more they appreciate what you really do all through the year, the gutsiness and the smarts that it takes to lead social change, the more likely they are to appreciate you at evaluation time, too.

 

Take charge of your own development
I think that, for a good leader or a great leader, correction plans can be counter-productive. You're putting your heart into this work, you're eager to keep doing better, and someone wants to ignore these core strengths, this core character, you bring to the work, and slap a should on you?

That's a great way to kill a person's motivation.

Which is why I'm such a fan of the advocacy approach to helping someone make improvements.

And why I'm such a fan of EDs having their own development plans so as to preempt oddball stuff the Board might come up with. Now if you have a high-quality Board and they want to talk to you about improvements, it's really worth listening.

But otherwise it can be a smart move to talk in your self-assessment about how you've grown in the past year, and that you had a plan that you followed which is why you improved. And how you already have a plan in place for the coming year.

You don't have to get too personal or too detailed. Just show them that you're someone who continually challenges yourself to do better, and sometimes, not always, but sometimes that prevents a Board from giving you attitude, the judgmental kind. The dumb kind.

 

Think about your evaluation every day.
That doesn't sound like much fun. But here's something I recommend to EDs. Sometime I'll have a whole page on this, but meanwhile: There's something I call the daily practice of mastery. There are only a few days in the year when you can get out the door to a training program to learn from the experts.

But what if you could learn from your own experience every single day? You're in the middle of intense stuff. There's a lot going on. You're making decisions all day long. You've got lots of material to work with.

So I recommend taking 3-5 minutes at the end of the day to write up quick notes to yourself, like:

What did I learn today? How did I see my strengths and talents show up? What accomplishments did I have? What victories?

What did I blow? What did I miss? How do I want to bring my strengths and talents to bear on those areas?

What's my goal for myself for tomorrow? How do I want to progress? What help do I want to ask for? What mentoring do I want to get?

Now I know that when you come to the end of a killer day, the last thing you want to do is do more work. But this is for you.

First, it's one of the best things I know that leaders can do to get better at leading. Just breaking the spell of the work, for a very few minutes, just having that little bit of time to think about yourself can produce big moves forward.

And second, when it's evaluation time, you can come back to this file and pull accomplishments out of it to put in your self-assessment. And you'll be surprised at how many more accomplishments from big ones to small ones that you'll be able to list. You're assessment will look much more impressive.

And you'll be able to tell specific stories about your professional development, if you care to do that.

I always urge an ED facing an evaluation to go back through her calendar to trigger her memory about her accomplishments. It still amazes me how much EDs focus on the crises ahead of them and forget all about the victories behind them. And what happens is that if you forget those victories, you're going to short-change yourself on your self-assessment.

So, please, at least go back through your calendar. But even better is the daily 3-5 minutes. Some EDs set up their evaluation form on their computer at the beginning of the year and fill it in as they go through the year. It takes a little discipline, but it sets them up for a much better evaluation.

And by the way, I've been saying 3-5 minutes, but some EDs who start doing that find themselves writing for 10-15 minutes, and maybe more. Which is even better. There's a lot to you. There's a lot to discover. There's a lot to capture.

 

Work with someone on your personal and professional development.
You might want to work with a coach or consultant or mentor or therapist, to help you catch your blind spots yourself instead of waiting for the Board to catch them.

You might want to do a 360 or you might not because there are some down sides to them. (I'll have more on this sometime soon.) Or you might just want to ask some of the people you work with: "If there were one thing you'd like to see me do differently or better, what would it be?" Or you could ask, "We all have blind spots, tell me one of mine that you've noticed."

You just asking for one thing. You don't need an overdose. No one does. You can always go back and say, "I just took care of the blind spot you told me about. If there were one more blind spot you'd like to mention, what would it be?"

Taking charge of your own development may preempt your Board from getting into it with you.

And one last comment. If you've read through this page and seen how bad it can get, and you realize your Board, by contrast, is doing thoughtful, caring, and accurate evaluations, you might want to let them know just how much you appreciate them for that.

 

© 2010 Rich Snowdon