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Strategic / Board planning away-days


For a Board or senior management team it is vital to spend dedicated, uninterrupted time together at periodic intervals to reflect, think and plan.


Normal, routine Board or management meetings won’t do because they typically have a crammed agenda and there simply isn’t enough quality time available to engage in dedicated discussion and innovative thinking.   Away-day meetings – sometimes called ‘executive retreats’ – are also a valuable opportunity for team members – especially non-execs or new team members – to get to get to know colleagues better and build a closer team together.  
Meetings are typically one or two days in length, held at a different location to the office e.g. hotel,  with an overnight stay often. As part of the overall programme, if attendees have some time to spend relaxing together e.g. dinner, do some sports, or go for a walk outside, this can be very effective for both building relationships and spurring improved thinking in the ‘working’ sessions. 
Some typical uses of an executive away-day meeting include:
-          To review progress of the organisation’s current business plan
-          To review the progress of two or three major development projects underway
-          To have an extended discussion of two or three major strategic issues or opportunities
-          To review or revise the organisation’s vision, mission, objectives and values
-          To engage in some dedicated ‘blue-sky’ thinking about the company’s future direction
-          To develop the key elements of a new corporate strategy or annual business plan
-          To review future budget and resourcing issues  
-          To review the organisation’s current governance arrangements
-          To review and define the company’s future organisational structure
-          To review strategic and operating risks and shape key management control policies
-          To discuss ways in which Board and executive team members could work together better
-          To decide on performance management measures and reporting mechanisms for the organisation
-          To hear and discuss advice and recommendations from external advisers   
Use of a professional, external facilitator is a must, for three key reasons:   to help plan and structure the overall programme with use of the most appropriate techniques;  to ensure each agenda session motivates and enables everyone to contribute fully and fairly but in a way that ensures overall agenda goals are achieved; and to help boost the quality of debate and decisions by skilled facilitation.   In particular, having an independent facilitator should go a long way to encouraging individuals to speak up and limit the influence of bias or groupthink.
Owen Morris designs each strategy awayday individually to suit each client’s particular goals, after a careful and detailed briefing with the chairman, CEO or other relevant senior executive. As well as expert design in advance, professional facilitation on the day and a careful write-up afterwards and post-review with each client to check follow-on actions,  we can take care of all the organising and logistical details – tasks like finding and booking the right type of venue, arranging the catering and room hire, and seeing to the audio visual and so on. 
So, contact Owen Morris today, to plan and deliver your organisation’s next strategy away-day!