When talking to nonprofit and corporate leaders this spring, I keep hearing the same questions.
Will my board ever be the same again? How can I re-engage and reconnect with them in this new post-COVID era?
The world shifted dramatically two years ago. And we should be proud of the way we made it work. But now we face a new struggle. How do we go back to the way we worked together in 2019? Does everyone want to go back? What did we lose? Did we gain anything?
2022: Your Best Opportunity to Reset Your Nonprofit Board
If your board members typically serve three years, that means two thirds of them have been onboarded in a pandemic setting. No matter how hard you worked at making your virtual meetings engaging, I can guarantee that they don’t feel as connected to each other or to the organization as they would have in a more normal board environment.
This is the moment, as we re-emerge from social isolation, when we need to reconsider how we work together as a nonprofit board. Most boards I know need to deliberately make time and space for reconnecting with each other and resetting around our most important priorities.
The good news is that I find that boards are more open to new ideas and bold thinking than they have ever been! They are ready to take all the things we’ve learned in the past two years and apply them to making our organizations thrive!
The challenge is that relationships are weaker. Many people who have joined boards in the last two years have never met in person. We have lost some of the trust, the passion, and the fun of being on a board with each other. We aren’t as aligned on our mission. We miss the relationships with other purpose-driven, community-minded leaders.
Now is the time for an in-person retreat.
Why an annual retreat should be in person when possible
Does this mean you will never have a virtual board meeting again? No! At the very least, board members will expect hybrid meeting options for when they are traveling.
But video meetings work best among people who already know and understand each other and are already aligned on key priorities and strategic values. The most effective boards have always come together annually to set strategy for the year and beyond.
Let’s get back to that best practice for your organization.
Signs Your Nonprofit Board Needs a Strategic Retreat
Here’s some questions that indicate you are past ready for a strategic retreat:
- Do you want to jumpstart your board’s engagement in your mission, purpose and vision?
- Do you want to inspire the kind of board connections and mutual trust that fuels great board leadership?
- Do you need to create new ways of working in this hybrid world and new cultural norms for your Board?
- Do you want to reset your Board in the strategic vision of the organization and re-engage them in the most important work of great boards?
What Should a 2022 Strategic Retreat Look Like?
With more than 25 years of experience leading nonprofit organizations, I’ve led and participated in countless strategic retreats. The most effective always focus on aligning the board around strategic values and goals and setting priorities for the coming year.
In 2022, we need to do those things, but in a different context. We need to also allow the board to make connections with each other and talk honestly about what we want to hold onto from before 2020? What do you want to let go?
To help answer these questions, I have developed the Strategic Reset Retreat, a one-day strategic board retreat full of fun, effective, energizing sessions focused on:
- Strategic Review, Refresh, Recommitment
- Re-Engagement of the Board as a Working Body of Leaders
- Cultural Norm Formation
- Legacy Building for your Board
The retreat format can also work for your company’s leadership team or for teambuilding work among your staff.
As President of The Boone Group, I have extensive experience in board engagement and leadership. The retreat format I’ve designed for 2022 is especially exciting, because it takes advantage of this moment in time to help you empower your board like never before.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org now to schedule your Strategic Reset Retreat – we are closing in on the half year mark of 2022, NOW is THE time. Let’s do this!