1 January 2011

Looking Forward in 2011

Happy New Year everyone! 

The new year is a good time to bring up the Look-Forward Agenda.  One of the challenges the recording secretary will have is to make sure they don't miss items that need to be dealt with at each meeting.  The Look-Forward Agenda is very helpful for this.  It is basically a list of items that are regularly dealt with throughout the year and provides a timetable of when these items need to be added to the agenda.  For example, our senior leadership team review financial statements each month at the first meeting after the 10th business day, and each year they need to set the annual budget in February to bring to our Board of Directors.  As well as business items, I put things such as the All-Staff Appreciation Breakfast and the Christmas Party.  These items are put on the agenda to make the decision on what date we will have it and who will arrange it. Small items, but still things we need to remember to look at.  Depending on what level of meeting you attend will depend on what needs to be on the Look-Forward Agenda.

The example below is for items for a Board of Directors' meeting, but you can customize it to your particular needs and the level of meeting you are responsible for.  We operate on a fiscal year so I put my timetable by quarter (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4), but you can also set it by month if you use the calendar year:

Item                                                                                      Timetable

Financial Matters
• Approve quarterly financial statements     
• Approve year-end audited financial statements
• Approve banking and signing resolutions (as required)

Appointment of Directors and Officers
• Appoint members to Board of Directors
• Appoint Chair of the Board
• Appoint Committee Members
• Appoint officers of the company (as required)

• Receive and review Chair's Report
• Receive and review CEO's Report
• Review reports on corporate performance measurements
• Review and approve amendments to by-laws or letters patent (as required)
• Approve corporate policies, code of business conduct, etc. (as required)
• Receive report of Corporate Secretary on disclosure by officers and Directors of conflicts of interest
• Meet in camera with and without the CEO at each Board of Directors meeting
• Approve appointment of auditors and their fees
• Receive and approve reports of Chairs of Committees
• Participation in Chair and CEO Review Process (as required)

Each time you set the draft agenda you should review the Look-Forward Agenda before bringing it to the Chair. It is a useful tool and the Chair and your team will be very appreciative that you have captured these items and have taken the guess work out of what needs to be on the agenda.

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