Board Decision Papers

Board decision papers are documents written for board members to perform their oversight responsibilities and take informed decisions about company matters. They should be short but informative, with an enlightened executive summary and supporting appendices.

Considerations to assist directors in making the most appropriate decisions on specific issues could include a discussion of alternatives analysis (such as techniques like Six Thinking Hats), an overview of the key metrics, research data or operating context and competitive insights that offer a clear perspectives, or even an analysis of the effect of each option on the business. It is also beneficial to show how management selected the preferred decision – this might involve explaining the various options or a summary of the pros and cons of each, including the way in which the suggested approach scored against criteria.

Board papers should be free of legalese and jargon, with a formal business writing style used throughout to make the content relevant and accessible to every director. Charts and graphs can be used to present information and trends in data, and break up large chunks of text. It’s also a good idea to read the papers aloud or with your colleagues to ensure that the key messages are being communicated. If you need to clarify something, you should seek feedback or opinions from the board.