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A New Year – Productive and Effective Board Retreats

"Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships."
Michael Jordan

If you participate on a board of directors, you know that you have multiple obligations to the organization and to the community. You work hard to lend your skills and expertise in civic leadership. Perhaps you are looking to motivate your group for the New Year, which is right around the corner.

A board retreat may help you.

Do you have a current strategic plan? Board retreats are an excellent way to strengthen your strategy and to build connections amongst your members. This is a constructive way to dedicate time away from regular board meetings and board committee meetings, and to focus on your broader vision for your organization. It’s a time to discuss things in greater detail, to review and address any outstanding goals, build up your team, and address critical issues facing your organization. It’s also an opportune moment to discuss board recruitment and succession planning.

To have an efficient and effective gathering consider the following;

  1. Define your purpose. What are your specific hopes for this retreat? Is your board at an impasse on a certain topic or challenge? Do you need to discuss succession planning? What about finances?
  2. Decide if you need an outside professional facilitator. This is not always the case, however, having a professional with you will help you to guide your conversations, manage your time and to be sure to address various personalities in the room. It is important to be sure that everyone has a chance to be heard. People have different comfort levels in sharing and speaking in groups and in public. A facilitator has the third-party distance to monitor this and to make this happen.
  3. Come with a comprehensive agenda that combines open discussion, specific activities, and ideas for future partnership and collaboration.
  4. Select a location that is away from your usual turf. It can be a wide variety of venues – just be sure that it allows for a time to think outside the box and to collaborate. Neutral territory is best.
  5. Set specific ground rules to establish expectations, rules of confidentiality and respect before you start. Do not skip this step.

Board retreats are a time for alignment. These are excellent opportunities to examine current goals, strategies, and action plans as they relate to and support your mission and vision. This may also be a time to conduct evaluations about your board’s effectiveness.

Ultimately, retreats such as these can improve your collaboration as you move forward. This can be especially true for newer members. This is also an excellent time to celebrate your work so far. You work hard. Make it count.

Woodland Strategies, a professional consulting firm in the Twin Cities, has worked with multiple for profit and nonprofit organizations for over twenty years. We can assist you as you consider board retreats as opportunities for growth in the upcoming New Year. We can help you to establish your immediate priorities, an agenda, and a variety of constructive exercises and activities for a positive experience that your members will value, and will leave your organization stronger.

Get started today! Please contact us directly to set up an initial consultation for your organization to help you maximize your time together.

This article or any other promotional material(s) from Woodland Strategies, Inc. is in no way intended to be a comprehensive plan.

Please note all markets, circumstances, and results vary. Any strategic plan or marketing initiatives must follow all State and Federal laws and regulations, accordingly.

Please contact us directly for a complete assessment and plan for your individual organizational needs.

Ten Steps to a Successful Strategic Plan

Strategic planning is a significant undertaking. It requires energy, creativity, time and money. Your resources are important and limited. Get what you want! This is what we do at Woodland Strategies. Here are a few tips as you consider your upcoming planning project.

Choosing the Right Consultant

Consultants can provide valuable service and offer an objective perspective to assist organizations and team members in a variety of areas. Woodland Strategies, a business consulting firm in Minneapolis, MN, offers an assortment of consultancy services including Strategic Planning, Marketing Strategy, Development and Fundraising Strategy, and also Leadership Coaching.

How long does a typical strategic planning process take?

This is a question we are regularly asked at Woodland Strategies. Typically, a full strategic planning process can take up to six to eight months, depending on how in-depth the organizational planning team wants to take things.Your messaging – your values, mission and vision statements – can, and should, last between eight and twelve weeks. This is really the most fundamental part of your plan. It should never be rushed.

Succession Planning for Your Nonprofit Board

Leadership transitions within organizations can be anticipated or be quite sudden. Transitions may be due to a personal change for a board member or staff, or they may be the result of a thoughtful and long-term decision to make a change. If you are looking to keep your nonprofit sustainable, you will want to be sure that you have a written succession plan ready to go.