Boards may use decision papers to gather the information needed to interpret, formulate and take decisions that define the future of a company. When these documents are not properly prepared, they could be overwhelming, both in terms of information and length. This could cause poor decision-making.
The key to writing a successful board paper is to keep it succinct and concise. Directors usually have a limited time to read your documents and they also might not have the same knowledge that you do, so it’s crucial to avoid excessive operational detail, rely on simple arguments instead of lengthy explanations and use only facts rather than opinions.
A good structure to a decision paper begins with the background of the issue that needs a decision, then leads directors through your argument, covering the connections to strategy, risk and financial information. This is similar to a traditional story structure and allows directors to follow the direction you are taking.
Lastly, you should include an assessment of any potential risks that could impact the final decision. You should also indicate if there are any current issues related to the proposal. This is an essential part of a paper for a decision and will provide directors with confidence virtual board meeting software that the information they’re reviewing is accurate and current. It’s recommended to have informal discussions with some of the board members who will be examining the decision paper prior to their meeting to ensure that all details and points are taken into account. This will help you to identify what needs to be addressed and, if necessary, discuss the possible outcomes or options with the board.