10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Board Orientation/Retreat!

  1. Nominating Committees Should Start Work Now! Nominating Committees are hugely important to securing the future of your League. Nominating Committees should start work at the beginning of every board term, not at the last minute. Identifying the right team of leaders can be challenging. One of the most comprehensive resources we have to assist Nominating Committees with their work is the Little Green Book. In the Little Green Book you can find information on finding leaders, job descriptions, work plan, succession planning, templates and more.
  2. Set Expectations Early. Come up with a few ground rules about the tone and purpose of the orientation. These can be as simple as reminding people not to interrupt when someone else is speaking. Remind people to be aware of conversational privilege so that everyone has a chance to contribute. Being clear on purpose can help avoid misunderstandings and can increase productivity.
  3. Be a Welcoming Board and a Welcoming League! Don’t forget that you may have new leaders on your board. It can be hard to come into a preexisting group, try and draw everyone into conversations. Check out these tips on being welcoming in League!
  4. Use the Membership & Leadership Development (MLD) Best Practices to Set Goals! Now is the time to dream big, what do you want for your League? Take this opportunity to bring new ideas into the room. Ask powerful questions to generate great conversations. Need help setting goals? The GROW ME Model might help structure the goal setting process.
  5. Don’t Forget to Go Over the Essentials. Remember some people are new and may not know the process and details, go over some of the nitty gritty.
  6. But Be Flexible! Don’t rush through really good conversations because you feel like you haven’t finished enough things on your to-do list. Ideally your board orientation is generating some amazing ideas and goals, most of the time it isn’t worth interrupting these brainstorming sessions. This isn’t the last time you will meet, you can finish some of these things later. Keep in mind that not everyone is going to have the same priorities that you do, and that is good! There are many different types of leaders and it is that combination of different styles that can be really successful!
  7. Come Back to Ideas Later. Make sure someone is taking notes of the great ideas that are being generated so that you can revisit them later. This makes your board members feel like they are valued and that this is all worth their time. Here are some great tips on effective listening so that as much of that energy can be captured as possible.
  8. Get to Know One Another! Most of this list will help build board relationships but don’t forget to emphasize this for its own sake. You will all be working together, probably a lot! Having good relationships is key to having a fun and productive board. Icebreaker activities are a great way of getting to know other people. If you have more time, try the Leadership Compass activity. It is a great way to break the ice and learn more about your fellow board members’ styles.
  9. Ask for Volunteers. Are you going to be working out committee assignments? Consider asking for people to volunteer for positions. Allowing people to choose their assignment, where possible, increases their ownership over that committee and reduces the likelihood that someone will end up in the wrong job for them. It also helps the team dynamic and builds a leaderful League!
  10. HAVE FUN! League does not have to be all work and no play. Many people get involved in the League for social reasons and that is OK. We have a lot to celebrate as we march to our 100th anniversary!