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How to Plan an Effective Board Retreat

The annual strategy session is often a board's only chance to be proactive rather than reactive, yet poor groundwork can torpedo the opportunity

Ah, the month of March. The NCAA tournament, the first flowers (at least if you live in the South), and hundreds of companies making decisions that will inevitably lead to bad board strategy retreats.

Over the years, I have attended dozens of such strategy events and have seen that most of the attending directors found them unsatisfying. Usually they were too polite to say much, but their reactions typically included: "It was useful background information, I suppose," "we just don't seem to get to the issues," "I am not sure how we are supposed to add value," and "I don't think we made any decisions."