If you were a local Ontario agricultural producer, you would know Agricorp—a Canadian Crown corporation that provides farmers with risk management programs. Employees in the Program Development division spend a lot of time communicating to the board, all in the form of briefing notes. Staff were feeling frustrated by having to force their message into a rigid briefing note template, and managers were spending way too much time rewriting.
We started by helping everyone see that briefing notes—like any report—can do different things: provide information and updates, make a recommendation, or show analysis. Together with managers, we created new briefing note templates for Agricorp and used their content to create sample reports for reference. We customized our Writing Business Reports workshop and created checklists to help staff write satisfying briefing notes and to help managers provide meaningful feedback. Managers and staff took the workshop together so everyone could share a common language and criteria.
“Good ideas to ensure readers are getting info they need in Briefing Notes. Good use of examples and good amount of information.”
Donna B. Agricorp
After the workshop, we provided an additional half-day executive workshop for managers, where we reviewed a stack of typical briefing notes, and practiced formulating helpful feedback. The outcome? Managers have become coaches and they help make staff better, more independent writers. This frees them up to do their real job: providing strategic input. Staff feel more confident knowing they have the skill to express their ideas clearly.
“Excellent. Instructor very knowledgeable, able to put it into terms everyone can understand. Good to get everyone on the same page.”