I had a terrific question from a client recently that highlighted a common strategic challenge.

How do we structure our messaging for a ‘paper for noting’?

Adrian's was concerned he didn’t have a ‘big insight’, but that ‘noting' felt wrong.

He wanted to prepare his board to hear a business case in a couple of months’ time.

So, what to do?

We landed seeking endorsement for his plan to prepare a business case as the best way to give the paper purpose while raising visibility of the problem. Here’s why we made that choice:

  • Asking them to ‘note’ that we have a problem without any indication of what the team was preparing to do about it seemed lacking. The team wasn’t ready to deliver a solution, but this option would leave the Board empty handed.
  • Asking permission to prioritise preparing the business case to find a solution to the problem was unnecessary. Adrian had full authority, particularly when supported by the Senior Leadership Team, to prepare the business case without asking for permission. So, we landed on a third path.
  • Asking the Board to endorse their plan to prepare a business case gave the paper purpose and raised visibility of the problem. This strategy let the Board know that a problem existed, demonstrated early that the team was taking action and provided clarity around the next steps.

I hope that helps. More next week.