The Statement …
Our Board no longer has face to face Board Meetings, and we are now meeting remotely online. This is a trend that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
As part of the Boards’ preparatory processes, our Directors review documents across a wide range of type and form, make comments, centralise these and incorporate agreed upon changes into the documents for their finalisation. Nothing remarkable.
This process has now become more disconnected, difficult, time consuming and costly, with a remote Board scenario, and we wish to have a more efficient and effective process, that is transparent and one in which, ideally, we can engage Directors in an online cross debate of contributions, with real-time visibility, thereby improving end product quality and save time and costs.
The Challenge …
Given their online “Board Mode”, and after discussion with the Chairman, Company Secretary and the Board’s Managing Director, to better understand the issues and complexities, our client Board request was refined into:
How can we best utilise technology to:
- improve the Board of Directors process and its structure, where some of the Directors undertook this task manually, including visiting the Company Secretary to drop off manually commented documents.
- improve audit trail and retention of all Directors comments and thoughts.
- provide access and visibility for the Company Secretary, to enable his review and pickup up of the points, to finalise the Board documents.
- provide the opportunity for Directors to engage with one another remotely, online real-time or in differing time slots, such that they can comment, not only on specific document points, but also on any Directors submitted comments, so that, not only are they engaging in positive dialogue, but we end up with an improved outcome, better Director understanding and enhanced Director support of documents put before the Board.
- provide, through the improvement of the efficiencies and effectiveness of this process, a meaningful reduction of Board Meeting time spent in this area, improved Director efficiency and contributions, together with improved Director understanding, engagement, team building, mutual trust and cooperation.
The Solution …
GRC Consulting utilises the latest leading edge, collaborative, real-time meeting technology to facilitate its Electronic Meetings.
For this scenario, we deployed our Web Hosted Meeting option, that would provide both remote, online, real-time or any-time encrypted and highly secure access, that is configurable, incorporating:
- “secure encrypted url meeting access links” for distribution to Directors through the Corporate e-mail system supporting the Board,
- “Named Access” requiring First name + Surname logon access, together with,
- “E-mail” entry logon access for respective directors,
- “Configurable Meeting Access Code” entry logon access.
GRC Consulting challenged the Status Quo of what most Directors would consider a standard Board process, and envisaged, by thinking differently, how we could add value by achieving simplicity, to directly benefit the Board, its individual Directors and their Board documentation finalisation process.
The historical Board process was, at a high level, a singular process, conducted by each Director, remotely, in his own and mostly at different times. The process was not structured, and furthermore conducted differently, utilising different tools and or manually, which made downstream consolidation by the Company Secretary an onerous and time-consuming task. Furthermore, there was little and generally no inter-Director engagement, collaboration, cooperation, or debate. It was not a learning process, nor one which benefited the Board or the documents from the collaborative engagement of the Directors.
In order to leverage our Electronic Meeting technology and contribute value to the Board, its Directors and the documentation finalisation process, whilst streamlining effort and reducing the time required of the Company Secretary, we structured the online “Board Document Finalisation Meeting”, within which we then structured “individual meeting rooms”, which hosted individual Board documents requiring the Directors attention.
In addition to all Directors, the Company Secretary also had Meeting and Room access.
The “individual meeting rooms” show on a screen pane on the left, each individual page of the document, with navigation and other facilities. Additionally, a screen pane on the right, allows comments and or sub-comments to contributed Directors comments to be added, therefore facilitating remote dialogue between the Directors on any points in the process of review and their respective finalisation.
In order to separately leverage the technology capabilities and specifically to provide enhanced dialogue between Directors, to either or both, discuss / brainstorm any key matters arising in the experienced view of any of the Directors, within the documents and their review, we added two further “meeting room” facilities:
- Discussion Meeting Room
In brief summary, the “Discussion Meeting Room” facility enables any Director to identify an issue within a document and post it into a focused Discussion Meeting Room. Multiple discussion threads may be created, such that multiple and parallel discussions end up being discussed / actioned by Directors through to the logical conclusion of their dialogue and points.
This added significant value to the Directors and their process. It is focused on a single issue (per meeting room) and engaged the Directors attention for resolution. The unique characteristics of the facility, replicated real life capabilities, but multiplied their capability, providing real-time and or anytime dialogue between the Directors in an efficient and effective manner, at an enhanced level not possible in a face to face board room meeting.
Please review the graphic and dedicated text below for other advantages.
- Brainstorming, Voting and Prioritisation of Director Points
In brief summary, the “Brainstorming Meeting Room” facility enables Directors to engage in focusing on an identified document issue, often a “thorny problem or strategic consideration” and engage in creative ideation to flesh out the issues and reach a prioritised solution for execution.
There is simply no parallel to the power of this process, which we call “Talking with your Fingers and Listening with your Eyes“, nor to the speed and collaborative power that this has on generating, in the shortest possible time, a substantial value add of information to move an issue forward towards a solution.
Please review the graphic and dedicated text below for other advantages.
The Company Secretary is able to easily follow the “conversations”, either through access or in downloading a MS Word format report, that contains all the information, inputs and detail, in easy to work structures, in order to undertake his responsibilities in finalisation of documents for the Board. This structured process provided a significant reduction in his time and effort, and leaves a complete Director attributed audit trail of each Directors engagement and contributions.
The new Board Process incorporated into the Board of Directors online “Board Document Finalisation” by GRC Consulting, is as follows:
The Benefits …
- We were able to incorporate a new Board process into the Board of Directors Finalisation of Documentation process, that was highly efficient and effective, that did not cause the Directors any technology or other discomfort and was highly secure, exceeding all the Corporations requirements for security and logon access.
- We significantly enhanced the Directors abilities online, to engage with one another either directly, real-time or on an anytime basis, in the documentation review and comment process, which was previously a singular and insular Director activity.
- Additionally, this enhancement was further leveraged, by way of providing the Directors two further structured options, to engage with one another on issue resolution identified within documents, by way of:
- Discussion Meeting Room facility.
- Brainstorming Meeting Room facility.
which of itself, whilst not historically available, necessitated lengthy delays and continual re-circulation of documents and or comments until their resolution, a process that required significant organisation and Director time.
- Board constructive dialogue and formulating sound solutions is at the heart of good Boards and exceptional performance. GRC consulting, as experts, understand this, and we have structured these facilities into the heart of this simple and standard process, to provide this Board with a long-term value adding methodology, that is efficient, effective and saves considerable time and cost.
- We ensured that the system and process met all of the local legal and corporate governance requirements, including access, process and outcome audit trails, together with a soft copy Meeting Backup for historical records, in addition to exceeding the Company Secretary’s expectations and compliance requirements.
- We were able, in real-time, to transparently provide the results of Directors actions.
- We saved the Board a significant amount of valuable Director time and organisational costs.
- We were, through our professional expertise and knowledge, able to structure and create a technology solution of a structured process, which enhanced the Board of Directors performance, that was highly efficient, hugely cost effective and produced a superior outcome for the Board.
- The process itself is highly participative and collaborative, which resulted in a high level of Director engagement and contribution and therefore a higher level of Director understanding and support for the final outcome.
- As professional corporate governance experts, we integrated an independent uniquely qualified expert system of ongoing support service to the Board.
The Client Board were delighted with the outcome and have retained and expanded our services to broader Board Meeting and other assistance, particularly electronic facilitation.
Why we do what we do …
Everything we do at GRC Consulting, we believe in Challenging the Status Quo and Achieving Simplicity to directly benefit you.
We believe in thinking differently and working with you in Partnership to solve your greatest challenges for long term benefit.
The way we challenge the status quo is by making Tailor-made solutions meet your specific requirements, and
Delivering our Solutions to you in beautiful simplicity.
Simple to understand, Simple to implement and Simple to use.
We are Boardroom Leadership Governance, Risk and Compliance Experts.
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