Appraisal, as a process of determining worth or value, can be traced back at least 6,000 years. The earliest written records indicate that appraisal processes were used to determine the worth of material objects. Currently processes are devised to assess individual/organizational performance in order to strengthen performance and increase value.
Recent studies show that Council (Board or Executive Committee) members believe that increased effectiveness hinged on improving the capacity of the council to accomplish four essential functions:
1) Develope a comprehensive understanding of the organization’s financial situation
2) Participate in strategic planning
3) Conduct periodic review of programs and services
4) Enhance council recruitment and development activities
Several other needs were identified: clarity and increased communication; education on the basic council roles and responsibilities; increased communication between the council and various constituencies (i.e., membership, the chapter president or executive, the national organization, the affiliates, and the community at large); desire to see the council work hard and add value. Council members need to fully understand what was expected of them -- corporately and individually -- and to learn what kinds of activities would enhance their performance.
Please find a Chapter Council self assessment posted to the right which can create an educated starting point for discussion among the leadership of ACC Chapters. It will help bring clarity to your governance structure and organizational activities. Council effectiveness stems from informed discussion and commitment to addressing priorities.
It is critical to emphasize the importance of viewing the Council self-assessment instrument as a tool in a more comprehensive process, not as an end in itself. The process ideally starts with a council’s agreement to take the time to assess its own performance, then proceeds to collecting, compiling, and analyzing council member feedback and reflection. The process then moves to a critical look by the whole council at the areas in which there are differences between desired and actual levels of performance and then culminates in the development of strategies for how to improve future performance.
The articulation of personal assumptions about roles and responsibilities of individual participants and the council as a whole, provides a basis for discussion about how to maintain acceptable levels of performance as well as to develop new initiatives designed to enhance performance in targeted areas. Careful attention to the compilation, analysis, and interpretation of the responses to the council self-assessment questionnaire will frequently surface conflicting responses.
Other discrepancies that emerged include the gap between desired performance and what council member assumptions have been concerning their responsibilities, as well as between their sometimes widely different perceptions of the quality of the council's performance in certain areas. The selfassessment survey has emerged as an ideal way to discover these discrepancies.
Study findings show that there are often times when council members have not been aware that a specific task or responsibility was part of their obligation to the council. Council education therefore is a side benefit of using a well-designed self-assessment instrument. Developing an awareness of the differences between desired and actual performance is important if the council is to be successful at developing plans to improve effectiveness in areas where change is needed.
Developing Trust: Bottom Lines and Helpful Hints
Given the collaborative and interdependant enviroment of ACC, Chapters, volunteers and staff, it is critical to develop high levels of trust. Trust is the fundamental quality of successful, productive and sustainable relationships. Without trust, an association’s ability to serve its members suffers.
Here are some facts to consider:
- Ninety-one percent of employees rated “being trusted to get the job done” as the most important thing to them in their work setting (2001 Randstad North American Employee Review)
- A Watson Wyatt Worldwide survey found only half of employees trusted senior management.
- Watson Wyatt also found that in terms of performance, companies where employees trusted top executives posted shareholder returns 42% higher than companies where distrust was the rule.
While there are few studies that document the relationship between trust and performance in medical societies and associations, there is little doubt that close correlation exsists.
The following shows the differences between two organizations, one with high degrees of fear and distrust versus one where the culture is built on a foundation of trust.
Culture of Distrust and Fear Culture Built on Trust
Minimal collaboration High levels of collaboration
Turf Battles Open Sharing of Information
Low Morale High Morale
Negative Gossip Positive Gossip
Low levels of innovation High Levels of Innovation
Sabotage/Behind the Back Gossip Disciplined Communications
Below are some stratgies to set the stage for your Council, and working across organizational boundaries:
Idea #1: Develop and invoke a set of ground rules to build trust
Ground rules are a way to clarify and codify the answer to four questions:
- How do you want to be treated?
- How do you think you should treat others?
- How do others think you want to be treated?
- How will we resolve conflicts?
If people in an organization cannot answer the four questions above, they will be seriously constrained.
Idea #2: Develop a Set of Measurements
Here are some indicators you might use to measure trust in your association:
Clarity of roles: Are the roles of council members and chapter staff clearly defined?
Communication: Are the lines of communication and process for communication between council and staff clearly understood by all?
Open sharing of information: How well do council and staff share information vital to making sound decisions?
Shared Purpose: To what extent do council and staff feel they are working towards to the same set of goals?
It is worth emphasizing the importance of measurements. You can and should measure the factors that shape trust in your chapter. Doing so allows you monitor what is happening, pinpoint “trust fractures” and take corrective action.
Idea #3: Have an annual game plan
Trust is a perpetual process that must be continually renewed among people and within organizations.
Asking the following questions will help you develop the game plan:
- Are we invoking the ground rules for board-staff relationships? Do new council members (and new staff) have the opportunity to explore and discover why the ground rules are important?
- Are we measuring and monitoring key indicators of trust? Am I using those measurements to facilitate better communication and collaboration?
- Am I paying attention to my personal leadership and communication styles? Are there aspects I need to change or new skills I need to learn to become more proficient at creating an environment of trust?
Seven Characteristics of Trust-Based Leaders:
- They work to build trust with others in all they do.
- They demonstrate humility and authenticity when interacting with others.
- They tell the truth to their peers and their followers, even when it is personally painful to do so.
- They are open, honest and direct in their communications.
- The demonstrate respect to others.
- They consistently act in an ethical manner.
- They are courageous visionaries committed to becoming the best that they can be and /or leading their organization to greatness (measurably defined).
Courtsey of AXI.