Will going digital make your board more effective?
No. It infuriates me when I hear people say that going digital has made their board more effective, it is simply not true!
Many of the software providers who sell board portals, spin this in the extreme, perpetuating this misconception. Using a board portal improves the efficiency of your board pack production process, but in and of itself, it does not make the materials any more effective.
Having said that so fervently, here is where I backtrack... Using a board portal can and will save the company secretariat team a huge amount of time – time that, if redeployed wisely, can help the board to be more effective.
So, how can you help your board be more effective?
The crown jewels in the responsibilities of the board secretary is being the trusted adviser to the board. This privileged responsibility of having the ear of the board and bird’s eye view of an organisation makes other executives green with envy. Yet board secretaries often find they’re so time squeezed complying with governance rules or getting the board packs out on time, that it’s hard to carve out time to stay one step ahead of the board and provide that wise counsel.
We consistently hear complaints that the process of compiling and distributing board packs is convoluted and inefficient. Time spent chasing late papers, updating reports and distributing the finished documents detracts from the time the board secretary could spend reviewing papers, supporting authors to produce better reports and adding value to the board.
If the board secretary is left with little time to do this, they’ll find they are only fulfilling the hygiene factors of their role – and not the value add that makes them a key player around the boardroom table. This clearly impacts the overall quality of governance of the organisation, as well as their professional reputation.
So, what do we recommend? Use software solutions (board portals and report writing toolkits) to automate as much of the process of compiling and distributing board papers. Clients who use our board portal report time savings of up to 90%, and they use that time to improve the quality of their board papers, to help the board be more effective. And this is what your board will thank you for.
"Our Company Secretary introduced Board Intelligence and it has changed the way we talk about our business in the boardroom" ~ Steve Holliday, National Grid CEO.
If you'd like to know more about how we can help your board be more effective, contact our team of experts to discuss your situation and specific requirements.