Home / Blog /

Minutes: how to save time, money, and goodwill

In reading this post, please keep its age in mind.

Not long ago, after seeing the draft minutes of a board discussion in which I participated, I made this suggestion to the organisation:

It is an unenviable task to take an accurate and comprehensive record of a conversation between those around a large board table, especially one that lasts 90 minutes, and [X, the Secretary] you have made a fine first pass.  It is, however, inevitable that, without an audio record supplemented by notes, followed by very careful transcription, a ‘who said what’ record will contain both inaccurate recollections and omissions.  And it is also inevitable that some of these, in a slightly sensitive situation as we have here, neither do justice to what happened nor advance the cause. 

This is why my governance clients, have, on my recommendation, adopted the other form of minute taking, the one where only the actions (plus any reasoning necessary to record that any necessary process was followed and any statement that a member specifically wants recorded)  are recorded….[i]

Given that the aim of the meeting was to [make decisions] what would be lost by just recording those? 

Plus you would save the valuable time of attendees that, because minutes become a record for posterity (for your grandchild the historian for instance), would be devoted to reading the current detail and making sure that their contribution had been accurately recorded.

Is there something for you in this?




[i] Additionally, I suggest that they make a standing resolution that, unless stated otherwise, decisions recorded in the minutes were passed without dissent.