Self-assess your director capability

  • Date:01 Oct 2013
  • Type:Company Director Magazine
A tool assists you to self-assess your strengths, weaknesses and future needs as you continue to learn and build your currency as a director.

More than 1,000 members have taken the opportunity to self-assess their director practice using the Director Self-assessment Tool since it was released in January. Here is a taste of their perspectives on the experience and the value of the tool:

  • “The self-assessment was good in testing whether I had the overall skills I needed as a director.”
  • “I identified two areas of my professional competence that were due for renewal and a refresh.”
  • “I reviewed what I intended to do for Director Professional Development (DPD) to ensure it was relevant.”

The online tool, developed from the Company Directors Corporate Governance FrameworkTM, comprises a series of statements on director practice that you work through, rating your level of capability or awareness in response to each statement. Organised into the four quadrants of the framework, you cover director practices focused on:

  • Individual director duties in relation to roles and responsibilities and leadership.
  • Board roles and responsibilities, board operations and performance.
  • Organisational responsibilities and governance: risk, strategy, finance and management relations.
  • Stakeholder relations and engagement.

Feedback from an online survey of members who have used the tool has provided useful and interesting information that is being considered for new developments. The goal of the survey, carried out in July, was to assess the value of the tool and to elicit suggestions about refinements to enhance usage and value.

Users indicated the tool was easy to navigate and that the statements that comprised the tool were clear and meaningful. As one respondent remarked: “I think the current tool is fine as it is – simple enough for all to use and not very onerous.” It takes about 20-30 minutes to complete the process.

The balance between too complex and too simple in the tool content and design has been an overriding focus. Feedback during the development and trialling stages, and in the current review, indicates that form and function are served appropriately in the current design.

“My report is clear and concise,” is the verdict of most survey respondents, reinforcing the value of the report as a useful indicator of your areas of director skill, knowledge and expertise.

“I have used the tool twice,” says Christine Holland MAICD. “I was very aware I should consider if I was over- or under-estimating my ratings for each of the statements as this would affect the value of the report. Having completed the Company Directors Course recently, I was keen to self-assess my progress and was pleased to have tangible evidence of increased capability, which has boosted my confidence.”

Holland is interested in undertaking the self-assessment for each of her director roles – she is both a long-term member and a new member of boards. She predicts her report results for each board will be different and will guide her in regard to appropriate professional learning requirements.

The vital report element of the tool is in the form of a “heat map”, which indicates with intensity of colour your strengths in relation to the practice statements. The deeper the colour, the stronger your capability in that element of director practice.

Using the report as a guide to selecting the most appropriate professional development, whether delivered by Company Directors or a third party, was often mentioned as a valuable function in the survey feedback and follow-up interviews.
Brett Noble GAICD expects to use the tool once a year as a prompt to “remind myself of the value of ongoing learning and to see if areas I intuitively feel I need to strengthen are confirmed in the report”. He plans to learn from a range of sources, including peers, experts in their field, briefings and more formal courses.

From the report screen (which can be downloaded), it is possible to link across to education suggestions available from Company Directors to deepen strengths or address gaps. The tool and report, however, can be universally applied to guide your professional learning from any source – third party or Company Directors – as you build on, further strengthen or delve into topics and areas intended to optimise your contribution to your boards or enhance your director resume.

The confidential report can be saved, allowing you to review your development towards good practice over time – a feature frequently viewed as worthwhile. The capability to observe the “distance travelled” in personal development has elicited a suggestion that the tool might be used to benchmark individual results against the aggregated results of all reports.

A benchmark function was part of the original planning for the tool so we will investigate options to add this feature. Confidentiality of results will be maintained as the data will be de-linked from identification with respondents before aggregation. Only members who tick the permission box at the start of the self-assessment process will contribute to the aggregated data and add value to the benchmarking.

The Director Self-assessment Tool is an excellent resource when considering what is next for you in relation to ongoing learning and currency of information, all part of your DPD commitment. You can access the tool and start building your personal director practice profile via the member services section of our website at: