Each year the board should help the CEO pause and reflect on the business, how it runs, and the decisions that get made.

You can use this exercise at the change in calendar year, your company financial year, or other key milestones.

It can be a key session at a quarterly/annual board retreat, or take up two sessions at a monthly board meeting.


A key part of running a healthy and sustainable business that we can be proud of, is regularly pausing to reflect. Reviewing what we've done and how we've done it — and deciding on improvements we want to make for the future.

The aim of this board session is to:

  • Reflect on what happened in the prior year
  • Review key decisions that were made and their outcomes
  • Discuss what can be learned
  • Look ahead to the coming year
  • Discuss potential improvements to the way you run the business, and the approach to decisions
  • Decide on a theme for the year
  • Decide on three key improvements you want to focus on

This is a major exercise so will be divided into two parts, and take two of the normal sessions at the board meeting:

  1. Reviewing: Looking back at the prior year
  2. Renewing: Looking ahead to improvements this year


It's useful, but not required, to read our summary of the book Thinking, Fast and Slow to gain insights into the value of this review process, and a steer on how to be aware of your natural biases as you review. This'll help you get the best outcome from this exercise.


In advance of the meeting, each board member should refresh their memories by: