Guidelines for Keeping the Board Informed

Dec 14, 2014

by Bob Thompson

Types of board information: 

Management consultant John Carver describes three types of board information:

  1. Decision information:  Information used to make decisions.  It looks to the future and is not designed to measure performance.
  2. Monitoring information:  Information that enables the board to assess how we are doing.  It looks to the past and provides a specific survey of performance against criteria.
  3. Incidental information:  Information used for the general information of the board and not related to board action.  Committee reports are frequently in this category.


Board Information can also be classified by when it occurs:

  1. Provided between board meetings:
    • Out of the ordinary events or problems:  (Board members hate it when they learn something of consequence “out on the street”).
      • Get the board to give you guidelines (for the board, not for individual board members) for what they want to be informed about between board meetings, e.g. bus accident, weapon on campus, fight on campus, etc.
      • Ask the board (individually) what is the preferred way for you to send him/her the information, e.g. email, telephone, twitter, etc.
      • When an event happens, inform them immediately and give them periodic updates.
    • Routine information:
      • Friday packets
  2. Provided at board meetings:
    • What routine superintendent reports do they want and in what format (written, oral, etc.)
    • What staff reports do they want, including format, frequency, etc. (handout)
    • What special reports do they want and in what format.