Whole-of-organisation focus for board papers

By Mary Morel | 26 May 2015 Board papers must be written from a whole-of-organisation perspective. Too often writers write from the perspective of their own team or division, and fail to consult with other stakeholders within the organisation. Such papers do not...

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Best practice board reporting

By Mary Morel | 23 April 2015 Many Australian business people are not aware that Standards Australia has developed a standard for board reporting, HB 403–2004 Best Practice Board Reporting. This standard outlines board reporting responsibilities and provides...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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