Decision papers arm boards with the data they require to understand, formulate and make the important decisions that determine the future of a company. When these documents are not prepared well, they can be overwhelming in both information and length. This can result in poor decision-making.

The most important thing to do when writing a winning board paper is to be succinct and concise. Directors aren’t able to read papers, and they may not have the same level of knowledge as you. It is important to remove unnecessary operational details Use clear arguments rather than long explanations and stick to the facts and not rely on opinions.

A well-designed decision paper starts with the background of the issue, then guides directors through your argument by highlighting links to financial and strategy information. This structure is similar to a traditional narrative and helps directors understand the perspective of your company.

Finally, you must include an assessment of any potential risks that could affect the outcome of the decision. You should also indicate if there are any current issues related to the proposed decision. This is a crucial part of a decision paper and gives directors the confidence that the information they are reviewing is accurate as well as up-to-date. Before the meeting it’s recommended to have a discussion with the board members that will be going through the document to make sure all the information and aspects are considered. This will help you identify the issues that must be covered and, if required, discuss possible outcomes or options with the board.

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