Effective Board meetings contribute a great deal to the success of a company. Board Members have an average of 8 meetings a year and they spend ideally 4 hours in each meeting, so how can Boards use those 32 hours in the most productive way possible?
The answer is simple: rethink the process from a digital perspective. The article is a reflection of our experience with digitising Boards by helping them revolutionise their day-to-day processes. A smart board software helps Board Members prepare and hold meetings more efficiently, leading to better relationships, stronger cooperation and a higher quality of leadership. Digital solutions like boardportals enable Boards to take better and faster decisions and to focus their time on relevant strategic points of discussion.
Here are some of the ingredients that lead to a productive meeting.
During a meeting, Board Members need to find relevant information fast and quickly pick up the important data from within the materials they receive. Handing in materials in a digital format eases this process and makes the meetings run smoother. The documents are always uploaded in the same order, and follow a template. The information is viewed in the same structure no matter the document type, or the purpose of the meeting. And, a major advantage of working with a board portal is that it stores and grants access to general company information, such as organisational charts, statutes, regulatory materials and other relevant documents.
All members receive notifications about upcoming Board meetings, at the same time, across geographies and time zones. The message is sent directly to their personal devices and it contains the agenda meeting and the necessary materials to review. It grants equal access to information for all Board Members. This eases the preparation of the meeting and allows for high quality input from all participants. The push notifications can be sent at any time with minimum effort from the corporate secretary’s office, including when updated versions of meeting materials become available. Compare this with paper documents - it’s quite an increase in efficiency. With plenty of time in advance, Board Members can easily prepare for the meeting, avoiding paper usage in the process as well as during the meeting.
Boards interaction can exceed four meetings a year, if circumstances require for more reunions. The flow of information between Board Members needn't be stopped. Digitisation simplifies processes and allows fast updates in between meetings, fostering engagement between Board Members. It also helps them to quickly prepare for meetings, in a more transparent manner. Board meetings become more efficient.
According to a McKinsey study 52% of Boards are eager to increase the time dedicated to strategy. This is because most of their time is spend on back-looking reports, financial and operational activities, rather than on strategy and future endeavours. Rely on technology to change processes. Digitising leads to more dedicated time to quantitative as well as qualitative company-related issues. And time for planning.
Board meetings can be taxing, especially for directors who spend most of their time in meetings. To keep them time-effective and avoid diminished attention span, a meeting should not exceed six hours. According to expert Aaron DeRose, a growth-stage venture capitalist, the ideal number of hours spent in a meeting, without taking a break, is no more than four. This guarantees that participants have gone over the materials whilst having kept their energy level high.
Board Members are savvy, knowledgeable directors. They are ready to step up and share their expertise. To do that in a constructive way, they need to have access to the company’s data. Intelligent software helps Board Members focus more on the big picture, collect the necessary data, and identify problems and opportunities early.
Digitisation, good leadership and collaboration between Board Members and the company’s CEO stands at the base of a successful Board meeting. Board Members are an essential part of the company. And so, interactions with them and among them are highly important. Smart software can support this multiple-way communication by sharing document notification or by granting access to private comments. It can also be used to ask the CEO questions, by pointing out the specific data and the issues in reference to it. Multiple-way communication helps Boards excel, which, in return, has a positive impact on the company and its future.
Thirty plus hours of meeting time during a year can be a great catalyst, allowing for a swift exchange of ideas and discussions. However, digitisation bridges the interactions between and among Board Members, and CEO outside meetings rooms. It grants extra time for relevant decision-making and strategic planning, which leads to advantageous meetings for both directors and the company.
To learn more about digitisation and Board practices, visit the company blog.