“The step-change improvement in the board’s information has led to a better conversation in the boardroom.” ~ Darren Kamen, Deputy Company Secretary
The Challenge — A Rolls-Royce Solution to Improve Board Information
The board of FTSE 100 engineering company Rolls-Royce wanted better-structured papers which are presented with greater impact and consistency. The directors had noticed a tendency for their board materials to be overly technical. Papers were often long, and dense, focusing on the nuts and bolts of a subject and making it difficult for the board to consider issues from a more high-level, strategic viewpoint.
In short, the board wanted the papers to be better at highlighting key issues and facilitating strategic debate. We were challenged to support their secretariat team in fulfilling the brief.
The Solution — Equip Report Writers with the Skills and Tools They Need
We worked with the secretariat team to deliver a two-part reporting solution.
Firstly, we delivered training to upskill Rolls-Royce’s regular report writers. We trained 100 people over six workshops, which focused on three key areas:
- How to write an effective executive summary, highlighting the key messages up front
- How to structure reports to ensure there is a logical cascade of information and that they cover all the bases
- How to produce reports of a consistent style, written clearly and concisely
Secondly, we introduced a tailored version of Write, our Reporting Toolkit, to embed the training principles across the organisation. The suite of report templates contained within Write reflect reporting best practice, providing report writers with ongoing support and training tips. The templates are designed to challenge and guide report writers’ thinking, ensuring that information included in reports is relevant and well thought through.
“Board Intelligence understood the specifics of our situation and need, and very much co-designed the templates and guidance alongside us.” ~ Darren Kamen, Deputy Company Secretary
The Outcome — Better Information, Better Conversation
For the board — a step-change improvement in the information they receive. The board have reported that the revamped papers bring out the key issues much more clearly, supporting better conversation in the boardroom.
For the report writers and the secretariat — considerable time savings. The bespoke reporting templates have made report writing easier, and the company secretariat team now spends less time reviewing and improving papers because first draft papers are of a much higher quality.
For the organisation as a whole — an improvement in reporting across several levels. The training principles have been adopted beyond the initial team trained within Rolls-Royce, with many of those who received the training being strong advocates and champions for using our recommendations in their own meetings and papers.
“Directors have a statutory duty to oversee management and the risks the company encounters. Being supplied with more concise and better structured papers has allowed our directors to focus on what really matters and fulfil their duties more effectively.” ~ Darren Kamen, Deputy Company Secretary
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