Agendas, Papers, Meetings and Minutes

Best practice board paper retention in the electronic age

A client recently asked for advice on best practice when it comes to the retention of board papers.

I had to compose myself to provide the answer as my head filled with images of the silly things people have scrawled in the margins of their hard copy papers and filed them, only for the scribbles to return at a later date to haunt them!

Yes, I’m pretty sure we all have some scary stories to share – and I’ll do so a little later – but for now, let’s consider what constitutes best practice.
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Effective board papers….it’s as simple as E=mc2!

It was a very smart person who said something along the lines of “if you can’t explain it in simple terms, chances are you don’t understand it yourself”.

That smart person was Albert Einstein – and I’m delighted to be able to concur with him, certainly when it comes to the preparation of board papers from management.

My golden rule, especially when we’re dealing with those matters seeking a decision from the board, is for management (that’s you!) to think of the board members as 12-year-olds (no offence!) when writing up the papers.
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The Seven Deadly Sins of Board Papers

A singular specimen of the scientific class of Aves contained within the boundaries of the upper prehensile is roughly equivalent to the double inventory of that item within a low-spreading thicket.


Simply put, that’s “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”.

And simply put again, such verbose and rambling language fills one of the spots in what I call The Seven Deadly Sins of Board Papers.
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A bingo board game with a twist

I thought we might change tack a little this time round, have a little fun, play a little game – a board game, if you will! – and in the process, improve what we do as directors and contribute to the even smoother running of our boards.

There’s also a fantastic prize on offer, so let’s get started.

It’s quite simple, really and, for want of a better name, we will call it Boardroom Bingo. It is all about the importance of calendars and how they remind we humans – with our tendency to forget, especially in an increasingly hectic world – of what we have to do and when.
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