Maximizing the Value of the Board Retreat

Successful board and committee retreats do not just happen.  They are the product of insight and planning.   At Masters-Rudnick, we believe that retreats are more than “feel good” experiences and that they should produce tangible results, as well as strengthen the intangibles that characterize successful working dynamics.  We work with boards and committees to identify the retreat objectives and to use the relatively relaxed retreat environment to focus discussion, reach conclusions, and build productive working dynamics among directors.

Retreats provide important opportunities for discussion, debate, and reflection.  While often retreats are forums for discussing long-term strategies, they also provide a setting for a wide range of matters that do not fit neatly in the regular board or committee agendas.   The annual board and committee assessments often tee up issues for discussion at the retreat, and the retreat’s more relaxed atmosphere provides an excellent opportunity to resolve these matters. What issues have the assessments shown that lack consensus?  Are there areas that the assessments indicate could use more attention or development than they have been getting during the year?  Have the assessments uncovered issues that create friction among directors, or between board and CEO?

Retreats can also develop and strengthen healthy board dynamics.  Logistics and planning can turn the retreat into an opportunity for directors to get to know one another better and for them better to develop a stronger working relationship with the CEO and, possibly, other senior executives.  While a retreat agenda and schedule are necessary, the retreat should provide ample time and opportunity for directors to talk with one another on an unstructured basis.

At Masters-Rudnick & Associates, we work with boards and CEOs to identify retreat objectives, facilitate discussions, help directors probe and resolve contentious issues, and develop action plans based on conclusions reached.

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