“This porridge is too hot!” she exclaimed.
So, she tasted the porridge from the second bowl.
“This porridge is too cold,” she said
So, she tasted the last bowl of porridge.
“Ahhh, this porridge is just right,” she said happily and she ate it all up.
i write a lot of reports. i read a lot of reports. nothing infuriates me like a board report. for a start there are a bunch of things that have to be reported on for legal / corporate governance reasons. then there is the stuff produced so that the producer feels he/she has justified their existence. meetings last for ever and, when you finally get to any point of substance that requires discussion, it’s time to head off to another meeting / home. it’s frustrating.
this has been true since meetings began, i’m sure. but we know now that it doesn’t have to be this way. it’s time for meetings to get out of the 18th century. i want nothing but baby bear reports. not too much, not too little, but just right.
my recipe is as follows:
• For the Board to become less of an update, more of a discussion and a decision-making forum (talking about what REALLY matters).
• Increased VALUE (to the Company and attendees)
• every 6 weeks
This gives enough elapsed time for things to actually happen between meetings and avoids the feeling that one meeting has just ended and the Company’s senior staff are already having to prepare for the next. More value would be gained, and significance of the meeting enhanced, from an extended interval.
• simpler, shorter (with appendices if necessary)
•looking back at the key things in the previous period
•looking forward to the key things in the next period
•appendix (including standard reports, preferably in a graphical format where possible)
• sent 3 days in advance
The focus of the report should be on the items that require airing at the meeting. Reports seeking to update the attendees should be in the appendix to be READ. These can always be raised by others when the report is discussed. “Help needed” is intended to raise special items that would benefit from the attention and help of the Board. It helps to ensure that everybody has read the pack (and can, therefore, concentrate on salient issues) if it is received several days prior to the meeting. Attendees can then have considered matters in advance and come primed with more valuable questions or input.
• One or two strategic topics per meeting at the very start
• Reports in turn
There are generally a number of larger issues that the business faces and that would benefit from discussion at this level. Getting to these first gives the best focus and attention to the matters of greatest importance. Thereafter, individual reports should be presented as if all present have already read them.