Most organizations expend a lot of effort on board meeting prep—it takes considerable time and resources to gather the right data, craft focused agendas, and build insightful reports meeting after meeting.
If you’re currently in the market for board reporting software, think carefully about your needs before making a choice. Some tools—like file-sharing solutions, virtual meeting platforms, and agenda and meeting management software—were developed to support specific, meeting-related needs. These can be helpful, but keep in mind that their usefulness may be limited.
Other tools were designed for strategy management and reporting. ClearPoint, for example, is an integrated strategy reporting system that both houses your strategic data and handles all the tasks associated with board meetings—in other words, it’s an all-in-one solution that support execution at every level.
To help you get more out of your board meetings, first review the best practices below. Then take a look at our roundup of some of the best board management software options available for every need to see which one might be right for you.
How To Keep Your Board Informed On Strategy
Board meetings should be all about strategy, but they can easily run off the rails and turn into a giant waste of time. As a meeting organizer, you have the power to keep them focused and productive. Here’s what you need to know to get the job done right:
What To Cover
Only a few discussion items are necessary for attendees to understand performance and make strategic decisions. Board meetings should cover:
A review of the previous meeting’s discussion. What was covered? How are you progressing on the plan of action that was developed as a result of that meeting?
Performance reports for the organization at large. In which areas was performance good and bad? Look at the organization’s high-level objectives, as well as the most important KPIs (those that are clear indicators of progress) and projects.
Possible courses of action. Considering performance and the organization’s intended goals, what strategies can be employed to stay on track and grow the organization further? Consider potential opportunities and how to capitalize on them.
Potential problems. This includes performance-related problems or a looming external problem.
A plan of action. Create a plan of action to address the issues that were discussed, and identify the people responsible for carrying out and overseeing each item.
When To Meet
Meeting times will vary based on the company’s stage of growth and its individual preferences. New companies should expect to have more meetings due to constantly changing business needs and more frequent challenges. For most organizations, a good cadence is once every quarter. (Annual meetings tend to get overloaded, and monthly meetings take up a lot of time unnecessarily.)
Note that there may be a need to hold additional meetings in case of emergencies; you can also change the cadence if circumstances change.
How To Present The Information
Here are some tips on how to prepare for the meeting, including how to develop a presentation that’s both informative and engaging:
Create and share an agenda to make sure everyone knows the purpose of the meeting and what will be discussed. Along with this, provide any important documents or reports in advance so attendees can review past performance and come prepared.
Adopt a common decision-making process. Will everyone work on an issue until you all agree? Or will an executive make the final decision with input from team members?
Prepare a presentation to guide the discussion. Many of the board management tools listed in the section below can be used as meeting aids, showing the agenda and key data points. However, they may not offer you the option of drilling down into supporting data in real-time because they do not house all of your strategy data. ClearPoint does, which means you can use it to further explain performance during meetings as needed. In addition to showing current performance data, you could also show:
- How high-level goals, metrics, and important projects align with one another
- A timeline of what is to come in the next period
- Visual trends in performance over time
Find a way to take meeting notes. Again, most board management systems allow you to take notes in real time within the software.
ClearPoint is board reporting software PLUS.
If you’re serious about achieving your strategic goals, why not invest in a software tool that does more than simply facilitate board meetings and manage document sharing? As a hub for all your strategic data, ClearPoint delivers a more insightful view of your performance than typical board management tools, and helps you stay on track even outside of meetings.
ClearPoint puts you in a better position to successfully implement your strategy because:
Your strategic data isn’t scattered across systems, which means you have access to a more complete performance analysis.
You can clearly see the links between projects and your larger goals, which helps you stay focused for the long term.
You (and anyone else of your choosing) can quickly view your metrics anytime, which increases engagement.
And when meeting time comes around, ClearPoint’s automation features make report-building quick and easy. You can also conduct board meetings right within the software, take meeting notes, and capture action items, recommendations, and decisions.
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Effective, consistent board meetings are vital to your organization’s future success; board reporting software plays a key role in making those meetings possible. When you find a tool that’s easy to use, fits with your reporting style, and supports excellent decision-making, you’ll know you’ve made the right choice.
If there’s anything we can do at ClearPoint to help clarify your needs or answer questions, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
Customer Success Manager & True Crime Fanatic
RJ assists clients throughout their ClearPoint journey, ensuring smooth implementation and management of accounts.