Time to plan your next board retreat! To help you along, I’m going to tell you what a board retreat isn’t and dispel some of the myths of this oft-misunderstood part of your nonprofit.

MYTH #1: THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR DOESN’T NEED TO ATTEND.

Wrong. Your ED absolutely has to participate and be a key part in your retreat. They are charged with carrying out the mission and vision of the nonprofit- can you expect them to do that if they are outside of the room?

MYTH #2: THE BOARD RETREAT IS A GLORIFIED BOARD MEETING.

Um. Nope. Pull up the agenda from your last board meeting. Count the agenda items.

Go ahead. I’ll wait. Count ‘em up.

4? 8? 17? More?

That’s WAY too many things to talk about during a board retreat. Retreats should be focused on 2 or 3 (max!) big concepts affecting your organization.

MYTH #3: OUR RETREAT IS TOO FULL TO HAVE A TEAM BUILDING ELEMENT

Folks. That’s what a board retreat is- a chance to build culture, celebrate your successes and get to know people on the team. You are responsible for executing your nonprofit’s plans and you need to know the skills, talents and capabilities of the crew.

MYTH #4: THE BOARD RETREAT IS THE TIME TO BE TACTICAL.

Board members are doers. Board members take action. Board members get stuff done.

But the board retreat is a time to get other types of stuff done than what you are used to-planning, big vision thinking, relationship building, creating some air for big, bold ideas. It’s less about checking things off and more about checking IN. When you can change your mindset about what happens at a board retreat, you’ll see success.

If you need some help tightening up your Board of Directors ship, contact me about my Board Tune Up workshop. It can be part of your retreat or a separate event where you will build your board’s confidence and inspire greater leadership.

Good luck with planning your board retreat and have FUN.

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