Expert Coaching. Practical Resources.

April 7, 2020

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Eric Phinney

Using Google Docs for Policy Work

Board work involves a lot of documents; documents that we are to agree on; documents that get reviewed, interpreted, moved, adopted and reviewed again. If you have not already discovered it, Google Docs can give an organization a real boost in efficiency.   In this time of isolation many are ready now  – or have no alternative but – to learn a few things that we might have been putting off for years.    

I would like to commend to you Google Docs as a very effective tool for working with written policy.  I have found that using this tool we can be even faster than if we were all sitting in the same room discussing a draft that was being presented by a small group.    

Imagine that you are sitting in front of your computer with a draft policy open on your screen. Up at the top right of the screen you can see several different colour circles with the initials of your fellow board members. On the document you see the same colours as cursors at various places on the document. On your headset (yes you have a headset on) you are talking with your colleagues. One of them suggests a slight change in the wording of a phrase. Immediately on the screen you see a red line strike through the phrase in question and new wording begins to appear beside it. A quick go around the “room” and you are all in agreement.  The chair of the meeting clicks “Accept” and the phrase is now replaced.   

Now let’s hang up our virtual meeting and come back a day or two later and have a look at the same document. You see that a couple of other phrases have been highlighted and off to the right is a comment. There might be another redline and a potential replacement phrase. There is a comment on the comment. Then there is an affirmation from all the members that there is agreement. You add yours. The next day you see that the Chair has seen that there is consensus and has “accepted” the edit.   

So either in a live conference call or spread out over a couple of days you have completed your policy writing or review task.   

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