The role of company secretary during the virtual board meeting

Today, the corporate governance system is changing completely, and the role of the corporate secretary is evolving. The company secretary is an assistant to the entire management. So, what are the secretary’s responsibilities when organizing virtual board meetings?

The role of the company secretary in the preparation of online meetings

Conducting business meetings can be attributed to the daily activities of the company. Such collegial discussions of priority issues are necessary for making operational decisions and developing long-term strategies. The organization of the board meetings requires an accurate understanding of the goals and objectives of this meeting. Assistance in holding meetings is the direct responsibility of the secretary. Minute-taking, shorthand, preparation, and presentation of materials – all these skills will help a professional executive assistant to conduct a virtual board meeting effectively.

When organizing an online meeting, the company secretary should be guided by the following principles:

  • A business meeting is necessary only to discuss issues that cannot be resolved in a working order;
  • Specialists carry out the preparation of information in advance; The effectiveness of a meeting is generally inversely proportional to the number of participants;
  • The purpose of the discussion is to get specific proposals from the speakers;
  • The decision-making includes the indication of the performers, the determination of the deadlines for completion, and the work specification.

Most meetings are held in organizations according to a plan, which is mandatory for the secretary and makes it possible to think in advance of a set of measures for their preparation. If the leader is invited to a meeting with a higher-ranking leader, the secretary must prepare the necessary documents in advance, print the text of the report, and promptly remind the leader of the date, place, and hour of the meeting and its duration.

Tasks of the company secretary

To effectively conduct a business meeting, the manager will need the help of a secretary. At the same time, the assistant manager is responsible for most of the organizational and technical activities. There are some necessary tasks to make the meeting as productive as possible:

  • Determine the goals of the meeting and decide on its necessity;
  • Set the topic, form the agenda, and determine the range of issues under consideration;
  • Establish the format of the protocol and agenda based on unified planning and reporting documents;
  • Develop regulations or a memo for the meeting;
  • Determine the composition of the participants;
  • Notify employees about the upcoming event, time, place of its holding, planned duration, and agenda;
  • Prepare and issue reports; develop a draft solution to the problem under discussion;
  • Send proposals on the draft decision to the invitees in advance;
  • Prepare the premises, demonstration materials, and necessary equipment;
  • Choose the digital platform for arranging virtual collaboration.

So, today, most boards of directors implement board management software for organizing online meetings more productively. It is a secure portal based on a SaaS model designed for data sharing, real-time discussions, voting, and control of the activities of all members. See the board software pricing from best providers at the review websites. The modern It market offers many reliable solutions like Diligent, iDeals, BoardMaps, Govenda, and Convene with various functionality and pricing policy. 

Benefits of a Board Meeting Evaluation

Opportunities identified to improve Board meeting effectiveness will be directly linked to opportunities for improving governance effectiveness.

The Main Benefits of Board Meeting Evaluation

Board meeting evaluation forms a reasonable strategy for the company, increasing its economic efficiency, competitive advantages, and providing an opportunity to competently and purposefully change the tools used in accordance with the changing conditions of the external world. Therefore, it is of undoubted importance to develop and implement a strategy that meets all the requirements of the internal characteristics of the company and external conditions in a stable period and at the same time has sufficient flexibility to quickly respond to changes.

The board meeting evaluation of a work plan makes it possible to correctly distribute the tasks facing the Board during the year, and makes it possible for each member of the Board of Directors to systematically prepare for meetings. The chairman should distribute among the members of the Council the responsibilities for the preparation of individual issues of the meetings, which allows to fully consider all the discussed topics. This practice will improve the quality of the meetings held, and the validity of the decisions made. The score for this criterion should be based on the presence or absence of relevant practice.

The benefits of a board meeting are based on the impact on the production and labor activity of people, which is carried out in two ways:

  • by directly influencing people through stimulation and motivation of their social and labor activity;
  • by indirectly influencing people through the creation of organizational conditions and optimization of the goals of their social and labor activity.

Hence, the basis of board meeting evaluation is laid:

  • a system of forms of motivation and methods of stimulation (administrative, economic, moral, and psychological) of social and labor activity of people;
  • a system of forms of organization and methods of regulating the interaction of people in the process of their joint social and labor activities.

The Main Interest in Board Meeting Evaluation

Interest in a board meeting evaluation came relatively recently. Therefore, the methodological and theoretical basis of this issue has not yet been sufficiently worked out. Although, practically at many domestic enterprises, especially large ones, work is already underway to create and develop a corporate culture. To identify specific mechanisms of influence on improving the manageability and efficiency of economic activity, it is necessary to study the corporate culture of any organization.

Best board governance practice involves discussing specific issues at meetings of independent and non-executive directors. This makes it possible to increase the independence of the Board of Directors and reduces the possibility of management’s influence on the decisions made by the directors. Assessing the quality of the work of the board of directors makes it possible to determine the degree of participation of its members in the implementation of the company’s strategy and its main goals, and to enhance the role of the board of directors in achieving the goal of successful development of the company.

The domestic science of board meeting evaluation is at the junction of a number of branches of scientific knowledge, and its development should be considered in close relationship with these areas, first of all, this concerns a fairly new branch of sociological knowledge – sociology of management. If you conduct a study of the sociology of management as a branch of sociology, then, as a rule, scientists consider “relationships, connections between people, their consciousness and behavior in the process of joint tasks execution”.

How to Build a Sustainable Board for Your Organization?

The Board’s role is to consider sustainability issues, e.g. environmental and social factors, as part of its strategic formulation. 

Building Sustainability for Nonprofit Organizations

The board for the organization should assess its structure in terms of whether members have conflicts of interest that hinder effective performance. Measures should be taken to reduce conflicts of interest. For example, internal documents could be amended to limit the ability of Council members to hold office in other organizations. The score for this criterion can be set depending on the presence or absence of conflicts of interest, or on the presence or absence of appropriate restrictions that reduce conflicts of interest.

Resource constraints, the existence of which predetermined attention to the problems of sustainability, are of a complex nature and are associated not only with the limited nature of raw materials but also with the interaction at the biosphere. Therefore, the concept of sustainable development implies a stable socio-economic balanced development that does not destroy the natural environment and ensures the continuous progress of society.

As the analysis shows, in the process of enterprise management, the only goal of obtaining and maximizing profits should not be achieved. The sustainable development of an enterprise is determined by the enterprise’s ability to adapt to the effects of the external environment on the basis of choosing the most effective scientifically grounded management actions in the interests of the enterprise itself and society as a whole. The traditional mechanisms for a market economy to adapt to changing market conditions to maintain sustainability include technical and technological innovation.

Step-by-step Structure on Building a Sustainable Board for Your Organization

Humanity in its existence cannot but be a community, that is a social organization or system, and not conduct economic activity. Any society as a community of people interconnected in a certain way (family, labor collective, population of a village, city, region, country) needs a managing organization in its economic activity since economic activity cannot be effective and creative if it is not purposeful and does not have a specific management structure.

Take a look at the best way to build a sustainable board for your organization:

  1. Know What Sustainability Means To You.
  2. Seek Continuous Feedback.
  3. Work With The Right People.
  4. Build The Right Infrastructure.
  5. Focus On Getting And Retaining Clients.
  6. Be Present In The Moment.
  7. Create A Vision To Anchor Yourself.
  8. Answer These Two Questions.

A separate item in assessing the work of the board for your organization as a whole is the assessment of the psychological atmosphere in the Board. The success of the decisions made depends on the psychological atmosphere of the work. Each member of the Council must give his personal assessment of the current psychological atmosphere. Based on the results of the assessment, the Board of Directors should identify those aspects that require improvement. Becoming a member of an organization, each of us gradually assimilates its rules and norms of behavior, as well as ideals that can later become the value and life guidelines of the individual.

The board for your organization is characterized by the fact that any corporate culture develops effectively only due to the fact that its postulates, norms, and values are shared by personnel. If the degree of separability is higher, then norms and values, codes, and other structural elements of corporate culture have a more significant and strong influence on the behavior of the organization’s personnel.

Nonprofit Management Strategies That Bring Success

To truly succeed, a nonprofit needs to be financially stable, with a passionate volunteer base, and committed and strong leadership – among other things.

Nonprofit Management Techniques that Ensure Success

Improving the management of non-profit organizations (eliminating the inconsistency of the management system with the new conditions) should imply the achievement of a level of management that:

  • would be the most acceptable in the conditions of modern market relations characterized by increased instability and uncertainty of the external environment, tougher competition, increased integration processes, the complication of information flows, and the inability to predict long-term trends with a sufficient degree of accuracy;
  • comply with the latest scientific advice as closely as possible;
  • would contribute to the comprehensive achievement of the statutory intangible goals of non-profit organizations that are intangible in nature.

The modern management concept unambiguously indicates that scientific strategic management (strategic market management) corresponds most fully to these requirements since it is this type of management “by objectives” that is based on a modern marketing (market) approach to management and, at the same time, on an integrated application of the achievements of the general theory of management and non-profit management.

At the same time, strategic management is understood as a set of not only strategic management decisions that determine the long-term development of the organization but also specific actions that ensure quick response of the organization to changes in the external environment, which may entail the need for strategic maneuver and adjustments to the general direction of development.

In other words, nonprofit management strategies in practice should be management consisting of two complementary subsystems: analysis and selection of the strategic position of the organization and operational management in real-time. Unlike strategic planning, strategic management is an efficiently oriented system that includes the process of developing, implementing a strategy, as well as evaluating and monitoring it.

Strategic Management of Nonprofit Organization

In addition, strategic management also means that the nature of management should be proactive and not reactive, meaning not just responding to events in the external environment and adapting to these changes, but also actively influencing environmental factors to create a more favorable situation for the organization. It should be especially noted that the management mechanism of a non-profit organization in modern conditions is determined by its constituent documents.

The need to use strategic management in the process of improving the management of the activities of non-profit organizations, in addition to the current general trend of transition to strategic management inherent in all organizations in the world, also takes into account the specific feature of non-profit organizations themselves: their greater (compared to commercial organizations) dependence on the external environment, so the goals of the statutory activities and sources of additional benefits for NPOs (attracting volunteers, receiving grants, charitable assistance, etc.) are in most cases external in nature.

At the same time, the strategic management of non-profit organizations differs significantly from the strategic management of commercial organizations, since the purpose of non-profit organizations (mission and other goals) is rigidly fixed in the constituent documents of the non-profit organization and does not change freely, as is the case with business organizations.

Consequently, strategic management for non-profit organizations, in contrast to the classical version of strategic management, begins not with the formation of the mission and other goals of the organization (since they are actually set in an already operating organization), but with external analysis. The sequence and content of the remaining stages of strategic management (internal analysis, strategy development, its implementation, assessment, and control) are not subject to change.