How to make your board more efficient

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A board that runs efficiently, enabling directors to make considered but swift decisions – surely the Holy Grail of any organisation?

Here we share tips on making yours more efficient, with key steps to take and insight into how to achieve them.

Meticulous preparation and structured meetings = efficient board

Efficiency comes in two stages.

First, there’s the way you prepare for the meeting, creating documentation for directors to read and digest.

Second, there’s the way time is spent in the meeting. A productive meeting will have the right agenda; the right make-up of attendees; the materials needed to make informed decisions.

Efficient meeting preparation

First, let’s look at how you can prepare for meetings in the most efficient way.

1.  Reduce the time taken to produce quality board packs

Compiling board papers can be time-consuming and labour-intensive.

In many organisations, it’s still a very manual process, involving reams of paper. You could look into the potential to produce packs electronically – via a portal – as an alternative.

Reducing the paper mountain; making it easier to insert or remove papers at the last-minute; making compilation a smoother process – there are many benefits of a portal-based approach.

Read our 5 strategies for best practice board packs for more tips, or read this case study to find out how ABF The Soldiers’ Charity went digital to produce highly-professional board packs.

2.  Provide material in the way your directors want

Ideally, your directors turn up to every meeting fully-prepared, with the papers read and digested.

But this isn’t always the case – particularly if you don’t make it easy for them to access the information they need.  Find out how your members prefer to receive information to influence the way you deliver your papers.

If you can offer them a choice of both hard- or soft-copy papers, you’re more likely to tap into their preferences and make sure materials are read prior to meetings. This then increases the efficiency of the meeting itself.

Directors can spend time making decisions and moving to action, rather than familiarising themselves with the issues. Significant amounts of time can be shaved off meetings as a result.

3.  Make it easy to access 

For many directors, travel is a big part of the role, and travelling time can provide the ideal opportunity to brief themselves on board matters. But bulky hard-copy packs can be unwieldy, while portals that offer only online access are no good when travelling outside of internet range.

A solution that can deliver both online and offline access increases the chances that your directors have time to read them in good time – again, with a knock-on positive effect for meeting efficiency.

Choosing a portal-based approach means papers are delivered at the click of a mouse. As well as increasing security, this cuts out delays in delivery – no post or courier needed. As soon as papers are final, they can be accessed. Maximise the time available for your board members to brief themselves and you maximise the efficiency of your meetings.

Our blog on how to brief your board members effectively for meetings has more tips.

Running effective meetings

The way the meeting itself runs, and how actions are implemented, are equally important.

Papers should be user-friendly and easy to share

We’ve talked about how the way you present your board papers can make preparation easier for members. In the meeting itself too, the way you present information can make a huge difference to decision-making.

Get everyone on the same page by making packs easy to navigate and read. Easy sharing of information gives everyone the full facts, allowing them to make informed, swift decisions.

Have the right mix of people

The composition of your board is as vital as the information they share. Having a sufficiently diverse group will help you to make the right choices. Ensuring compliance is represented means that you can tackle governance issues – something boards are increasingly being taken to task about.

Help members to make the right decisions

However diverse your make-up, there are times when social processes can undermine your decisions. Take into account all the information you have – using techniques like situational intelligence to optimise your decision-making process.

Boards that have followed these tips have seen dramatic increases in efficiency. Benefits are tangible, not just for the Company Secretary or others preparing the packs, but for members themselves and the organisation as a whole.

Meetings are run more effectively. Decisions are made more quickly. The entire business benefits from a more streamlined approach.

To read more about how board portals can benefit directors, as well as those producing packs, download our free whitepaper, Board portals – what’s in it for directors? You can read a copy here.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.

Sample Board Pack by VirtualBoardroom