Before moving forward, board members have many responsibilities and a lot of information to learn and understand. However, often because of incompetent reporting by the CEO, the rest of the board is left with a bunch more questions after reading the document. No one would want to read ten pages of text and still be puzzled about this or that. To prevent your board from ever having to deal with a situation like this, the CEO should improve their reporting skills, and it’s doable. You have to follow some key principles.
Make sure you get the structure of the meeting right
Board members often think that their main job is to understand what’s happening, and the CEO must educate them on that. Directors should know that their main goal is to ensure their company is moving toward its goals, and a properly structured agenda should help them do that. The agenda is a fundamental element of every board meeting. It should outline the basic outline of the meeting, what topics the board members should explore, and in what order, as well as supporting documents. The CEO report is the concluding supporting document of the meeting, which should spell out the main business content, from which the reader could extract useful information to make the right decisions. So, the purpose of the CEO report is to provide an organized context, while the agenda and other supporting files offer details for decision making.
Highlight clear goals and perceptions of issues at the management level
For the CEO to produce a report that is truly valuable to others, the board must identify the key goals and outcomes that lead your company to success. Once you can articulate these aspects, it will be easier for the CEO to understand what information they should include in the report. It also ensures that your CEO’s message is future-oriented rather than history-oriented, meaning what has already happened. This way, the board can better support the board’s governance because they will be building on future goals rather than on the past, which only inhibits productivity and decision-making.
Develop a structure for the CEO’s report
When the CEO and the rest of the board have done what is known as “preliminary work,” the CEO should begin to develop a robust report structure that ensures the information is more easily understood. In a perfectly structured report, the first two pages are enough for board members to understand the reality of the situation. Below we will highlight a template for a piece of quality information from the CEO:
- Key metrics, such as production, customer, and financial
- Main topics of discussion and decisions of the upcoming meeting should correlate with the agenda
- Main issues of concern to the CEO
- Results achieved and successes of the company
- The CEO’s resume, which should not drag on for more than a few sentences
- Additional metrics
If your organization’s board succeeds in implementing these principles, you’ll see an immediate improvement in board preparation before the meeting. As a result, your arrangements are guaranteed to become more productive, and the relationship between the CEO and the board will become more harmonious and balanced.