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Why is situational intelligence important to company secretaries?

Dimitriya Paunova

Situational Intelligence

You may have heard the terms ‘situational intelligence’ and its close relative, ‘emotional intelligence’.

But what do they mean? And why are they relevant to the company secretary role?

What are situational intelligence and emotional intelligence?

Situational intelligence can be defined as ‘the ability to read and respond effectively to a situation’. It’s all about how you can gather together data in order to make faster, clearer decisions.

Emotional intelligence is one of its components, and refers to people’s ability to be aware of, control, and express their emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

A situational intelligence-led approach recognises that reaching a desired outcome is more likely if those involved try to understand each stakeholder’s motivations and build engagement and collective motivation.

Both can be very helpful when trying to get buy-in for an idea. They can also help groups of people – company boards, for example – to make informed, well thought-through choices.

Using situational intelligence to help boards make better decisions

This is where it becomes interesting to company secretaries.

Because it allows decision-makers to distil a range of data into the most salient points and focus on the most important, it can help make board meetings more efficient and effective.

As a result, companies can benefit from:

  • Reduced risk
  • Increased safety and asset reliability
  • Increased productivity
  • Better regulatory compliance
  • Improved customer satisfaction levels
  • Lower costs
  • The identification and creation of new revenue opportunities

What can the company secretary do to help?

As a company secretary, your role is to facilitate the most effective board meetings possible. We outline some tips for achieving this in best practice board meetings – 7 strategies for success.

One of your directors’ main objectives is to set business priorities. But if they don’t have access to all the facts, they run the risk of making choices based on ‘whoever shouts the loudest’.

Situational intelligence can help with this. Underpinning the approach is the need to have all the relevant information at their fingertips. They can’t consider all the facts if they don’t have the full picture.

So how can you help them?

  • Make sure they have the information they need

This might mean making sure previous board papers and relevant corporate information is available online, via a portal. It might mean collating the management information available via automated workflows, financial planning systems or other platforms. However you gather and share the data – it’s down to you to make sure they have the facts they need to make decisions.  

  • Present it in a user-friendly way

Board packs need to be easy to navigate and read. This applies whether you go for online or hard copy papers.

You might want to think about offering both, so all your members receive papers in the way they prefer. However you present them, your papers need to be clearly ‘signposted’ with clear navigation. Make it easy for readers to identify the most important points. 

  • Ensure everyone has enough time to review the data

You can help to get all your directors onto the same page by giving them sufficient time to understand the background information. Send packs out in good time.

Our blog on how to brief your board members effectively for meetings has more tips on how to make sure your directors are well-prepared.

Situational intelligence and its related concept of emotional intelligence can pay huge dividends when it comes to boards making the best decisions.

Making sure your directors have the right data at their disposal can make all the difference. The tips above will hopefully help you to deliver this. If you want to read more on how board portals can help to ensure your members have all the information they need, you can download our free Portal FAQs. You can get a copy here.

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