10 Practical Guidelines to Improve Board Communication

Corporate Secretaries International Association

About The White Paper

Mark Twain once said: “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. As corporate secretaries, we regularly face this challenge in relation to board communication: management prefers bombarding directors with as much information as possible to avoid being accused of opacity, whilst directors often complain that they are receiving too much information and it is being presented to them in ways that don’t highlight the key issues in order to stimulate the requisite discussion and debate, leading to less transparency and neither party’s objectives really being achieved.

This white paper will provide guidelines such as:

  • Become a gatherer of broad-based information
  • Be a honest broker of information and communication between the board and the executive/senior management team and avoid playing politics
  • Engage with your directors to ensure you understand the type and quantity of information they would prefer
  • Ideally all information to the board should always be processed and distributed through the office of the corporate secretary
  • Always remember what the purpose of specific information is, when determining its appropriateness, as well as the required format and process
  • Develop a standard template to be used by management for all board submissions
  • You are not just a post box
  • Consider the most appropriate means for communication
  • Ensure you have a proper records management process and all communicated documents are properly filed
  • Rather communicate more than less