The following is an excerpt from our recent White Paper Information Management: How To Think & Act Like a Professional Information Manager, authored by Bonnie Oakes Charron of Board Concierge. She examines professional information management techniques to help you deliver a first-rate service experience between your board and your organization. Bonnie’s 20 years of experiences in governances shines through as she provides real-world best practices for how professional information managers stay ahead by diligently organizing their governance world.
It’s no secret to those who occupy the Corporate Secretary’s Office (CSO) that delivering governance services to the board of directors, senior management, and other internal and external stakeholders can make for a busy hub of activity at any time of the year. The breaks, downtime, vacations, and professional development that are a usual component of most jobs, often take a backseat to meeting the endless list of demands arriving from all corners of the organization and beyond.
It is a true crossroads. While working in the Office of the Corporate Secretary at several organizations, I found that as soon as the task lists appeared completed, new tasks would emerge from everywhere: incoming phone calls, emails, and even office visits.
Have you ever arrived at work only to find a lineup of people waiting to see you, phone flashing with multiple messages, an overflowing inbox, all compounded by new meeting invites to juggle? When you couple those responsibilities with the need to manage the human, financial, and other resources that support your governance function, the Corporate Secretary who wants to master this work environment is in serious need of professional tools to manage and control their work.
The most foundational of these tools is a solid Information Management framework that can be used to instill structure to all the business activity. This framework should identify all major business activities occurring in the CSO, classify these activities as either Corporate Management, Administration, or Operations, and organize the associated information assets for effective and efficient business processes.
The resulting framework is called Business Activity Structure for Information Classification (BASIC). This BASIC structure helps manage the information assets that flow in, are processed, and flow out of the CSO, from directors to management, and from management to directors. The Corporate Secretary manages this middle space – where governance meets administration. The BASIC structure can be instituted across all information sources managed by the CSO: email folders, calendar appointments, document shares and network directory structures, records cabinets and storage, and finally compiled into the board portal.
Ultimately, corporate governance is all about relationships, processes, and structures. There are many stakeholders involved in a system of governance for one organization (the management team, board of directors, shareholders) and they actively come together for decision-making and direction-setting, supported by the structures and processes put in place by the CSO. These structures and processes are critical to ensure that the interests of every stakeholder are balanced, compliance requirements are met, value is created, and the success of the organization is assured for both the present and the future.
The sustainability of this system is dependent on the CSO’s ability to lead others in the ‘how’ of governance. Taking the time to establish solid information management tools and processes can only enhance your success in this information-intensive and time-consuming role by bringing order to the environment.
Are you currently the master of your environment? Is it easy and simple to organize your information assets? Do you think in terms of business processes? Do you use to-do lists? Do you struggle to meet deadlines? Lose track of commitments? Can you stay on top of everything coming your way, such as survey responses, doodle poll results, signature requests, expense report approvals? Wondering where to start?
Let’s look at a few professional Information Management techniques to help you deliver a first-rate service experience between your board and your organization. First, we will construct the outline of our BASIC structure, review a few ways to better manage the full life cycle of your information assets, review how to identify your vital records within those information assets, and manage it all to add value and reduce risk. Sound impossible? Corporate Secretaries do the impossible every day…