How to run an effective Board away day

At least once a year it is good practice to hold an away day at which board members and senior staff can come together for strategic “blue sky thinking”.

Ideally this should be held in a neutral space and include a lunch session for people to chat together; if finances allow a dinner the evening before and even an overnight stay in a convenient hotel help board members and staff to get to know each other better.

Most organisations – and especially chairs – find it useful to engage an outside facilitator to take participants through the day. There should be good liaison between the chair, CEO/Artistic Director and facilitator in advance to ensure that the main issues can be focussed on; some facilitators also ask to speak to all board members to ensure that there is as wide an input as possible into the agenda. The day itself can be run through a mixture of presentations, discussions and break-out sessions; it is essential that an agreed list of actions is drawn up thereafter and circulated to all participants so that the thinking of the day is encapsulated and taken forward.

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