Better Board Meetings: Minutes, Memos & Agendas Shouldn’t Be This Difficult

Improving board meeting memos, minutes, and agendas

It’s hard to govern when meetings are this much of a mess

There’s a good chance your board still relies on outdated, paper-based processes. It’s not surprising. Many still do. Is it any wonder, then, that vital information could be falling through the cracks as documents run into the hundreds of pages?

There’s also the time and money spent preparing and then sorting through manually-taken notes, minutes, and memos to consider. Who’s to say that updates scribbled in the margins won’t be missed? Or that handwriting won’t be misread?

When your organisation is dealing with this much information, it’s a matter of ‘When’ not ‘If’.


Old document management methods are dragging down productivity

Piles of board documents

Boards deal with a large amount of information on a daily basis. Staying up-to-date and informed is crucial to effective governance. Only…it’s never that simple. Sifting through and preparing this information requires an excessive amount of time and resources pre-, during, and post-board meeting.

Secretaries spend a lot of time compiling relevant documents. Yet it all amounts to nothing when it’s placed in the hands of time-poor board members who are expected to parse this mass amount of information in a short time-period. Sometimes days, often hours.

Does this sound familiar?

  • PricewaterhouseCoopers found that professionals spend 5 – 15% of their time reading information, but as much as 50% looking for relevant, vital information (Source).
  • Datapro via Gartner Group reports that the average employee spends 400 hours a year searching for paper documents (Source).
  • Of the managers ATG & Rheinner Reuters surveyed, 49% feel they’re unable to deal with the sheer volume of information they receive (Source).

Things don’t get any better once the meeting is underway. Memos, minutes, and notes all pile up, often jotted down between the margins or on scraps of paper. The entire process from initial preparation to final decision requires maximum time investment for minimal results.

Good governance relies on informed decision making, but how can you expect to make those decisions when the relevant information, and board members, are quite literally on different pages? Workflow, productivity, and governance all take a hit when so much time is wasted sifting through documents.

Back in 2009, efficiency expert K.J. McCorry wrote on the inefficiencies of paper-based processes. What she had to say at the time is as relevant today as it was back then:

“Considerable time is still wasted and used inefficiently in managing paper documentation, especially when a high percentage of the data is created and generated electronically.”


Vital information is slipping through the cracks, and it could cost you

Reviewing board documents

A board’s ability to govern relies on instant access to the most up-to-date data. Yet current processes actively work against this goal, seeing information spread across multiple, lengthy documents. If a board member is running late, for example, they won’t have time to catch up. Especially if, as is often the case, any last minute changes to the agenda shift focus or topics. 

In the ensuing chaos, gaining – and retaining – visibility over relevant information is difficult, if not impossible. It’s no wonder information that could inform far-reaching business decisions is easily missed or skipped in a stack of paperwork, or that notes taken during a meeting are lost or misplaced. 

Did you know?

  • The Workflow Management Coalition found a 50% – 100% increase in productivity following the implementation of improvements to organisation processes (Source).
  • They also found a 30% productivity increase when implementing simple workflow enabled document management (Source).

Once the meeting is over, both tracking and actioning these changes can prove to be time-consuming. It also makes version tracking a nightmare. Who has the most up-to-date version of a given document? Whose notes need to be rolled into the final version, and which were ruled out?

Managing and processing this information is a sunk cost. It’s inefficient at best, and a recipe for lost, missed, or skipped information at worst. What happens in this scenario, where vital information is left sitting in documents for weeks if not months, if it’s ever noticed at all?

Your organisation could be heading for a metaphorical iceberg, and you wouldn’t even know it.


Achieving complete visibility is simple

Taking a step back, Stellar identified the key areas where current processes are failing. Physical documents are disparate, disconnected, and increasingly disorganised, which isn’t surprising when you consider these analog processes are trying to keep pace in an increasingly digital, data-filled world.

Nowadays, boards require a central digital hub that makes preparing relevant documents, simple. Features like search functionality and the ability to annotate in real-time, ensures vital information can be found, accessed, and highlighted so that agenda-setting, strategic information is no longer missed.

With a comprehensive, multifaceted platform for boards, you can quite literally bring everyone onto the same page, so board members can work on – and read from – the same document in real-time. This enables effective, secure collaboration while all changes are tracked and saved making the lives of staff and secretaries that much easier.

That’s less time spent managing paperwork, and more time making informed decisions.


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