For all boards, a regular dedicated time spent at a board retreat off-site and away from distractions should be considered essential.
Board and corporate retreats help to solidify a board of directors and enhance its effectiveness by giving board members time to get to know each other and to do long range or strategic planning for the organisation.
With packed agendas and time pressure, a typical board meeting rarely affords opportunity for lengthy discussion and creative thinking. The value of board retreats is that they remove the board from outside distractions for a sufficient length of time to contemplate strategic and governance issues, including the board's own development.
Using a professional facilitator
The presence of an independent facilitator, briefed by the chairman or chief executive, ensures that time is well spent and all individuals are able to participate fully. This is also an opportunity to bring in external expertise to help deal with complex governance or corporate issues, or to introduce scenarios arising from technological, political or environmental issues, for example.
In many organisations having annual board retreats is routine, for progress reviews, strategy and budget preparation, or for 'blue sky' thinking. For boards whose directors are based at different sites or with external non-executive directors, the residential element is an important feature.
Here are a couple of testimonials: -
"The retreat organised by Oando PLC and facilitated by Richard was extremely professional. The team enjoyed the retreat and followed through actions has changed their behavior. The facilitation style was very easy to follow and interesting. The outcome of the retreat was also used to develop the outline of the Quarterly Management retreat."
'Demola Ogunbajo, Manager, Avaizon Consulting, Nigeria
"Thanks for a stimulating two days, which has resulted in my senior management team reviewing the way they work, plan and implement. The biggest change has been in how they work together as a team! We are very pleased that a number of important business issues have been identified and already worked upon with the next steps clearly identified. In summary excellent."
Roger Randall, Managing director, Biomet UK.
Board retreats for non-executive directors
Board retreats are particularly valuable for building non-executive directors' understanding of executive strategy. They offer an extended opportunity to learn about and test and probe strategic thinking. They bring the executive and non-executive together in a less formal setting where they can build their knowledge and understanding of each other. They give the non-executives exposure to other senior executives in the business and align understanding of the strategy that is being pursued in a way that then provides a shared backdrop to detailed discussions in the course of the ensuing year.
Professionally run, a facilitated board or corporate retreat pays dividends. The best investment for progressive boards of directors.
Board and corporate retreats with Brefi Group
Brefi Group has experience of designing and facilitating corporate and board retreats internationally. Often these are in exotic locations, either in the host country or abroad. Whatever, they are held in comfortable surroundings away from the normal workplace.
Each retreat is individually designed in conjunction with the client and is flexible enough to respond to issues as they arise. We produce lots of flip charts and the whole team is involved in analysis, creativity and action planning.
Retreats tend to combine teambuilding with strategy matters. Here are some examples of the sort of things we have included in the past: -
- Personal aspirations and outcomes for the retreat
- Personal introductions and aspirations
- Communication exercise
- Strategy development
- Vision, mission and values
- Scenario planning
- Modelling the current organisation
- Designing the future organisation
- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis
- Technology, Customers, Competition, Regulatory and Environment analysis
- Political, Environmental, Economic, Sociological and Technological environments analysis
- Setting well-formed outcomes
- Balanced business scorecard
- Psychometric profiling and feedback
- Action planning, reporting systems and contracting
- Introduction of specific ideas, exercises or publications
In addition to workshop activities, meals together and a complete break, with some outdoor activity are excellent bonuses that allow the mind to consolidate the learning and be more creative, and board members to relax together.
We can find you the ideal retreat venue – quiet, remote, or luxurious. UK, Europe or overseas. We have facilitated in city hotels, country house hotels, on boats, Texas ranches, mountain lodges – and included activities such as walking in the countryside, mountain biking, horseback riding and white water rafting. And lots of thought provoking indoor activities too. And there is always golf!
Why are board and corporate retreats so powerful?
Day to day you work under pressure, little chance to spend quality time with your colleagues. Whether your objective is to get to know each other better, to build a team to work together better, to be more innovative, or to get down to work on your strategy, you will achieve much, much more if you get away, change the environment and allow time for the process.
For some projects, business planning, strategy planning and budgeting, scenario planning, uninterrupted time is essential. For some, confidentiality is also needed. For some, just a change of environment is enough to make a difference.
We don't know whether you are planning a board or corporate retreat, or whether you would like to know what would be involved, or more about facilitation. Whichever it is, you can spend a little time finding out how you could do this.
If you would like to find out more, you can contact us now.
Or you can do nothing.
The choice is yours.
Why not contact us now.