Global Experience, Locally Available
Making Space Consulting offers the usual fare of planning and visioning retreats for executive boards and boards of directors, using techniques learned and refined through global training and experience. But we also offer an alternative approach that is is in line with the fiscal realities of our smaller clients.
What is a Kitchen Table Board Retreat?
Many corporations and not-for-profit organizations find it is benficial to send their board of directors, executive committee, or association coordinating team on a weekend retreat. Usually held in rural or seaside settings, the retreat gets the board off to a place they can relax, reconnect with one another, reexamine their work together, and rebuild their common vision.
For many non-profit organizations and small businesses, the cost of sending a dozen people away for a weekend at a spa or retreat center is out of the question. For many such organizations, the board members (or key thought leaders in an unincoporated small business) are overworked and overextended and loath to give up a weekend to such a retreat.
An Affordable Alternative
For these organizations, the Kitchen Table Board Retreat is an attractive option. This is an aftermoon retreat held around a table. It could be the kitchen or dining room table of someone’s home, the conference room table of the organization headquarters, or a banquet table in the basement of a local church that supports the organization’s goals. Facilitators from Making Space Consulting take participants through exercises which are especially adapted to the around-the-table environment and move the board through team building, understanding working styles, visioning, and action planning in four to six hours.
Sample Objectives and Agenda
- Build our ability to work together as a board
- Create a shared vision for the year
- Determine big-picture goals
- Plan near-term actions
- Relationship Building
- Working Styles
- Action Planning
- Next Steps and Closing
What is the Breakthrough Moment?
While not guaranteed for every occasion, many board retreats, especially first-time retreats (which Kitchen Table retreats often are) result in a breakthrough moment, when the Board is able to refocus and clarify something they have been overlooking. Facilitators from Making Space Consulting are trained to recognize these moments and flexibly adapt the agenda and exercises to highlight and leverage these breakthroughs.
For example, at a recent Kitchen Table Board Retreat, the board was having difficulty settling on a single
vision to provide a basis for action planning. The facilitator from Making Space Consulting recognized that the Board was focusing on multiple visions for the work of the various task forces they supported and had never thought about their own work. The facilitator started the exercise over again, with a different structure and a refocused framing question. As a result, the Board realized that they had things to contribute to the organization separate from what the task forces were accomplishing. The board did goal setting and action planning around their own responsibility to grow the organization as the base of support for the task forces.