Case Study: Designing and Facilitating a Small Nonprofit Board Retreat with Zoe Tamaki

Over the past two years, I helped designed and facilitate two annual board retreats for a small nonprofit with my colleague, Zoe Tamaki. I don’t typically do one-offs like this, but the executive director was a friend of mine, and I was looking for an excuse to work with and learn from Zoe. After last year’s retreat, Zoe and I sat down in front of a camera and discussed some things we learned from the experience and from each other, including:

  • The importance of designing with your stakeholders
  • When relationship-building trumps task work
  • How I handled a funky facilitation moment

I’d like to share stories like this more frequently, and I hope to explore other mediums in which to do this, especially video. I want to share a lot more about design, which contributes much more to the success of group process than facilitation. I especially want to talk about the harder stuff — the challenging moments or the stuff that flat out fails. Since my focus over the past few years has shifted to supporting and coaching other collaboration practitioners such as Zoe, I’m especially excited to be sharing things I’m learning from them.

Finally, I hope to inspire other practitioners to share stories from their work more frequently and without concern about polish. This work is hard. It’s better to show all the rough edges.

Many thanks to Zoe for doing this work with me and for being willing to candidly debrief it on camera afterward! As I think you’ll be able to tell from the video, it was super fun working with her.

This post first appeared on Faster Than 20.

Collaboration Coach, Trainer, and Designer. @fasterthan20