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The importance of clear titles in board papers

By Mary Morel | 7 April 2015 Directors like clear titles to board papers because they want to know what the paper is about before they start reading. And the title of a paper must be identical in the agenda. When the title in the agenda is different, directors are unsure which is the correct […]

Where boards fall short

By Mary Morel | 27 March 2015 An article in the Harvard Business Review by Dominic Barton and Mark Wiseman states that ‘boards aren’t working’. This is in spite of regulatory reforms and a host of guidelines from independent watchdogs. A 2013 McKinsey survey of 722 directors found that only 34% agreed that their boards fully […]

Board paper reporting – managing the yo-yo diet

By Mary Morel | 9 October 2013 Most executives and directors involved in board room reporting understand, in theory, the difference between governance and operations. The question is how to manage the blur that inevitably creeps in when executives provide too much information and directors start to engage with operational details. Size is a symptom […]

Verbs in board paper recommendations

By Mary Morel | 14 July 2013 When reading board papers, I see verbs used with and without an ‘s’ in recommendations. It is recommended that the Board approves the policy. It is recommended that the Board approve the policy. Which is your preference and why? You can use either. Those who choose approves do […]

Tell a story in a decision-making board paper

By Mary Morel | 1 March 2013 In a decision-making paper, you are telling a story. An issue has arisen – it could be a problem or an opportunity – and you are providing a solution. Unlike a novel, in a board paper your readers know the ending upfront in the recommendation. But as with […]

Writing styles for online board papers

By Mary Morel | 25 September 2012 When writing for tablets, all the qualities of good writing apply, but they are intensified and layout becomes more important. Headings act as signposts Headings and subheadings break up the text and provide signposts for the paper. A reader should be able to skim read the headings and get […]

Writing background sections in board papers

By Mary Morel | 6 September 2012 With regard to decision-making papers, I am often surprised at how much detail writers go into about what happened in the past. The writer may be recommending a solution to fix a problem, but they spend three quarters of the paper talking about the horrendous difficulties faced in […]

Writing board papers for iPads and laptops

By Mary Morel  23 July 2012 Many boards are moving towards reading their board papers on tablets and printing only the papers they want to scrutinise more closely. Within the next few years, most boards will be paperless and printing, binding and couriering board packs will be a thing of the past. What will this […]

Is text the only medium for board papers?

By Mary Morel | 26 June 2012 Why aren’t companies using the full capabilities of the online medium for board papers? Most companies I know who are using iPads or laptops in the boardroom are still sticking to text. They have taken the same board paper format as in the past, converted the documents into […]