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Why do you have to take minutes in board meetings?

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Minute taking is often viewed as a dull but necessary task to cover governance requirements, as well as providing a legal defence for directors. But this is a short sighted view. Minutes can (and should) drive real action and strategy across the entire business, maximising the efficiency of every single board meeting.

In this article we’ll cover some of the main benefits of taking meeting minutes.

Minute taking is a legal requirement for board meetings

Firstly, minute taking is a legal requirement for any and every board meeting. Decisions taken in the board meeting must be recorded legally, even if at the time they seem routine and without debate. That’s because these can form a valuable defence for directors if they’re sued in the future about past decisions (particularly relating to the seven Director Duties ).

Directors are also liable for their decisions after they’ve left office, so it’s important there is a formal recording of everything discussed and decided by the board through meeting minutes.

Read our blog on how to take better minutes

Drive real action with well-taken minutes

But taking minutes shouldn’t just be to cover the legal obligations. They’re also a valuable way to formally ensure actions are decided, noted and taken after the meeting. This gives the board (and business) a valuable, well-structured future action plan, which is essential for assessing strategy impact and following up anything that’s outstanding.

Minute taking keeps everyone in the room focused

Minutes allow anyone who isn’t present to catch up quickly on discussions and decisions in the board meeting. But when presented live with a meeting minute taking software, minute taking also serves as a key way to keep everyone in the room focused. When board meetings start to lose track (which they do), minutes can maximise meeting value (and the board’s time) by giving everyone chance to pick up discussion threads again.

Read the whole Good Board Meeting Guide

Meeting minutes give vital context behind decisions

One other essential function of minutes is providing context behind decisions taken. This can be really valuable when looking back at understanding why particular business decisions were made.

We once needed to review a business decision to relocate a factory which had started losing lots of money. In reviewing old minutes it was found that the key points of the argument to move rather than stay put had been glossed over. This can become a very serious problem, not only for missed learning - but also showing the directors had acted reasonably.

Taking meeting minutes measures progress

Allocating an owner to a meeting decision allows your board to measure strategy progress across the business. After all, it’s pointless trying to gauge achievement without some sort of formal assessment, and meeting minutes give this structure.

You’ll be able to assess exactly who is responsible for achieving certain actions, whether they’ve done it and what the outcome was.

Meeting minutes give ownership to strategy and decision making

There’s nothing quite like a vote record to focus people’s attention and thoughts on a particular topic. It’s not there to catch people out, but knowing that people’s discussions and decisions are formally recorded in the minutes does act as a way to ensure preparation and motivation. And that will only benefit the business as a whole.

 

 

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Our Good Board Meeting Guide is full of tips and information on how you can make your next board meeting run better. Download it here.

 

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