Posted by: Knightbird | January 31, 2011

Electronic Board Reports

As a director for both profit and non-profit corporations, I receive numerous packages for meetings. One sits in my inbox right now for a meeting next week. They are full of elaborately prepared documents, and Executive Assistants and other staff spend incredible amounts of time copying and assembling those documents. It is important for any lean organization to examine how they address the important needs of policy governance for their organization. This includes the type of reports on performance, the schedule for regular review of policy guidance, budget review and adoption as well as addressing specific matters that are within province of the board. This includes committee meetings, and regular education offerings for the board. It also includes distribution of the records. I like to receive my board packets 2 weeks in advance of the meeting so I have an opportunity to read them, research matters I am not familiar with, and formulate any questions I might have.

Governance is an expense item, and Lean can help meet the needs of the board at the most appropriate level of expense. The twin pillars of Respect for your Board and Continuously Improving your governance processes can reap substantial benefit. Providing the information your board wants, being transparent and giving them an opportunity to review the material is key to good governance.

Electronic records provide a substantial opportunity for incredible improvement in governance. Many organizations I participate in provide PDF versions of their materials, but also have to print them out because of their inability to provide individual electronic versions of the materials at the meeting. This dynamic is about to change with the proliferation of computer pads and the ease of connecting to corporate web sites. I did a rough calculation for the 8 meetings we have annually for one organization I sit on, and came up with a rough estimate of clerical and material costs, including copy costs, of about $16,500 annually. This does not include committee and subsidiary meetings, and there are about 6 such meetings held in conjunction with the board meeting.

Chugachmiut has been moving in the direction of Electronic Records Management because of the huge savings and performance efficiencies to be gained. We will also be moving towards Electronic Board Reports as well, because it makes sense.


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