Board Observation Checklist

Successfully conducting a board meeting involves three stages; preparation, conducting the board meeting and post-meeting actions.

To effectively observe a board, and their approach to governance, all three stages must be considered.

When preparing to observe, and provide feedback about a board meeting, you need to ensure that you have prepared.

You need to consider:

  • When the board meeting is taking place
  • Where the meeting is and at what time
  • Who you need to communicate with regarding your observation – for example, you may need to liaise with the Chair or Board Secretary well in advance to ensure all security permissions are granted / confidential aspects understood etc.
  • Timelines for providing your feedback and to whom and in what format the feedback will be presented

This checklist provides details of each of three elements / stages of a board-level review.

Examples of both good and bad practice are included to assist in rating each element (using a red, amber, green) and identify areas of strength or development for the board.


Business Report Writing Questionnaire & Best Practice Ideas

Business reports are a method of documenting and conveying information and communicating with people. They can provide information without the need for meetings, or can form the basis for discussion at a meeting.

Reports help with planning, communicating and decision-making and are designed to provide research-based information in a concise and accurate format.

They both inform and persuade: a well-structured report with clear points and aims will be more likely to achieve its intended results. Well-planned, informative reports can also enhance professional reputation.

Whenever you write a report you must bear in mind why you are writing and who you are writing for. All reports have a reader.

Using this resource will help you reflect on your current approach to communicating through the written report and provides a guide to good business writing.


The Culture Web Model

When dealing with organisational change management a useful tool to diagnose the status quo of an organisation’s culture is the Culture Web.

It can be defined as a representation of the paradigm of an organisation and how it is manifested in terms of day-to-day behaviour.

Basically, the Culture Web refers to the assumptions that are core to a company’s culture.

The Culture Web, designed by Johnson & Scholes (1988) identifies several elements that can be used to describe or influence organisational culture:

  • The Paradigm
  • Contol Systems
  • Organisational Structures
  • Power Structures
  • Symbols
  • Rituals and Routines
  • Stories and Myths


Cash Flow Forecasts

Good cash flow management is essential in every business if it is to succeed and grow.

Cash flow forecasting is about predicting when money will move in and out of your bank account in the future. It’s easy to see how much cash you have in the bank today (you just check your bank balance!) But if you want to know what your bank balance will be next week, or next month, or next quarter, you need to do a cash flow forecast.

The amount of cash you have in your bank account dictates what you can and cannot do. Say it’s the end of the month and you need to pay your employees. It doesn’t matter how much money you are owed; either you have the cash to pay your staff, or you don’t.

This is just one example of why it is incredibly important for business leaders to know how much money will be available to them at any point in the future.

This excel spreadsheet enables you to produce a cash-flow forecast and compare your forecast month on month to your actual sales and expenses.


Strategy – A Glossary of Terms

When new to a leadership role it can sometimes be a challenge to understand what your more experienced colleagues are talking about!

This glossary gives you an explanation of some of the most common words used when leaders are discussing strategy and other key business processes. 

As you hear your colleagues using any of the words or phrases within this glossary, make a note of what they were talking about at the time and how that word or phrase is used / interpreted within your organisation - going forward, t may help you to engage in more meaningful conversations with your new colleagues.




Effective Questioning

Asking different types of questions effectively (and listening carefully to the answers) provides a way of structuring information in sequence to explore a topic and to get to the heart of the issues.





Types of questions include:

  • Open Questions: These are useful in getting another person to speak and can provide you with a good deal of information. They often begin with the words: What, Why, When, Who. Sometimes statements are also useful: “tell me about” or “give me examples of”.
  • Closed Questions: These are questions that require a yes or no answer and are useful for checking facts. They should be used with care - too many closed questions can cause frustration and shut down a conversation.
  • Specific Questions: These are used to determine facts. For example, “How much did you spend on that?”
  • Probing Questions: These check for more detail or clarification. Probing questions allow you to explore specific areas. However, be careful because they can easily make people feel they are being interrogated.
  • Hypothetical Questions: These pose a theoretical situation in the future. For example, “What would you do if…?’ These can be used to get others to think of new situations and how they might cope or use their skills.
  • Reflective Questions: You can use these to reflect back what you think a speaker has said, to check understanding. You can also reflect the speaker’s feelings, which is useful in dealing with angry or difficult people and for defusing emotional situations (ref. Active Listening Skills).
  • Leading Questions: These are used to gain acceptance of your view – they are not useful in providing honest views and opinions. If you say to someone ‘you will be able to cope, won’t you?’ they may not like to disagree.

Induction / Onboarding Checklist

Induction, Onboarding, also known as organisational socialisation, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviours to become effective organisational members.

Tactics used in this process include formal meetings, lectures, videos, printed materials, or computer-based orientations to introduce newcomers to their new jobs and organisations. Research has demonstrated that these

Research has demonstrated that these socialisation techniques lead to positive outcomes for new employees such as higher job satisfaction, better job performance, greater organisational commitment, and reduction in occupational stress and intent to quit.[

These outcomes are particularly important to an organisation looking to retain a competitive advantage in an increasingly mobile and globalised workforce. In the United States, for example, up to 25% of workers are organisational newcomers engaged in an induction / onboarding process.

This simple checklist will help you think through your own team / organisation induction programme to ensure you have all the bases covered when your new employee joins you.

 Induction Checklist