July 8, 2005

Collaboration Essential in Creating Board Retreat

Next week I will be facilitating the San Francisco International Arts Festival's Board Retreat. The process for creating the retreat objectives and expected outcomes are sculpted into an agenda that I share in this posting. The planning process has been a rewarding collaborative process lead by a team of Board Members and me.

Launched in 2003 with pilot programming and presented again in 2005 is at a critical juncture. What is the vision, identity, design that makes this Festival critical to the San Francisco Bay Area's arts ecology and how do we create a sustainable organization? The retreat will ultimately address vision and leadership structure, two essential components to being successful.

The planning process has taken approximately 10 hours over three weeks involving a series of meetings and one-on-one discussions. Of all these meetings the most informative was a debrief discussion with participating artists, presenting partners, volunteer staff and board members. The outcomes will inform our SWOT Analysis (internal Strengths and Weaknesses, external Opportunities and Threats) at the retreat.


9-9:30am Breakfast and socializing

9:30-10am What we need to accomplish today and an overview of the Strategic Planning process – Presented by retreat planning team

- To establish a shared vision of what the Festival is and should become
- To create an overall framework and design for the Festival
- To identify and prioritize key issues that are important to focus on
- To achieve consensus on short term plans and requirements for next Festival
- To get organized and enhance working relationships across the leadership team

- What is an important outcome of today’s session for each of us?
We are anticipating that the outcomes of this meeting will provide a foundation for the recently launched strategic planning effort and help us to validate a realistic timeline and roadmap that defines the transition to the longer term vision, We also hope to start formalizing the leadership infrastructure and processes, with special focus on the Board of Directors. These objectives and expected outcomes will be validated with everyone during the first session of the day.

Communications and rules for engagement:
Participation, respect, listen

10-10:30am Management Analysis – “State of the Festival” – Presented by Executive Director

10:30-11am Group Sharing - “Who is the board?” – Facilitator
- Share a surprising and little known fact about yourself
- Tell us why you are involved in the Festival
- What do each of us want to bring to the organization?

11am – 12pm Visioning Exercise – Identity & Design – Facilitator
- What do we want the Festival to look like 10 years from now? What will people be saying? What are the news headlines?
- Discuss guiding principles
- Identify unique selling points for SFIAF
- Prioritize - will later become our strategic action plan

12-12:45pm Working Lunch – Defining Success – Facilitator
- What does success look like in the priority areas outlined in the visioning exercise?
- How do we quantify success?
- Ways that the board can support these goals

12:45-1:30pm SWOT Analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats - Facilitator
- Group discussion as they relate to our guiding principles and definitions of success
 Internal Assessment of Strengths and Weaknesses
 External Assessment of Opportunities and Threats

1:30-1:45pm Break

1:45-2:30pm Leadership Development - Facilitator
In order to meet our vision, address our Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats we need to address the following questions:
- What is the ideal number and makeup of the board in terms of background, skills and qualifications
- Individual roles and responsibilities
- Identification, evaluation and selection process
- Orientation and training requirements
- Governance structure
- Officers
- Committees and workgroups
- General operating procedures
What work groups do we need to create to make this happen?

2:30-2:45pm Break

2:45-3:30pm Critical Timeline & Work Groups into Action– Facilitator and Executive Director

- Important dates and decisions that need to be made impacting programming
- What is a realistic working timeline for the board considering schedules?
- Who wants to be on what working group?
- Who should lead each working group?
- Set high level timeline with high level outcome?

3:30-4:00pm Snack and Working Groups mini-meeting - Facilitator
- Meeting in working groups
- Set first meeting date, time and location
- What is your working groups’ 2-3 needed outcomes?
- Need to provide a preliminary report at the next Board Meeting

4:00-4:30pm Concluding Retreat

5:00-7:00pm Informal Social Gathering to Celebrate

Please feel free to modify this agenda for your organization.