So, your board retreat was fun. A crescendo of good ideas were offered. The team got better acquainted. A three-year strategic plan was drafted.

But come Monday morning, when daily routines set in, the retreat participants soon forget what was decided or the priorities to which they agreed.

What’s Next?

Before the retreat ends the most important question is: "What’s next?" What can be expected? Should we await a written report, approval of the plan at the next meeting, timelines, and committee assignments?

The gist of the question is, "Will the new strategic plan be implemented and fully integrated into the organization?" The query should give pause to how to make best use of the newly developed plan.


Plans fail for lack of implementation and integration. Here’s a short list of what’s next in general sequential order.

  • Circulate a draft of the new plan
  • Board approval at the next meeting
  • Align committees, appoint task forces
  • Inform members and stakeholders about the plan
  • Assign a plan champion to monitor progress
  • Discuss the plan at board meetings, and annually
  • Three-year update


At the retreat, or immediately after, circulate this questionnaire about implementation of the new plan. The left column aligns with the six components of the Association Operating System (AOS).

For each statement, rank the strategic plan on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is the weakest and 5 is the strongest. (Note the answer key at the end.)

A guide to implementation is scheduled for publication by the American Society of Association Executives with the title: "Strategic Integration – Tips, Tools and Techniques to Move Beyond Strategic Planning."