Case Study

Irrigating board and senior executive debate

WHO: Murrumbidgee Irrigation

WHAT: strategic facilitation - board and senior executive

WHY: new Managing Director facing annual board and strategy planning day

HOW: determine what the Managing Director wanted the meeting to achieve, key outcomes and issues to be openly debated


Murrumbidgee Irrigation had a newly appointed managing director. The company was due to hold its annual board and management strategy planning day. The managing director sought to focus the group on key objectives of the current strategic plan so that meeting did not get locked into ‘operational’ outcomes. The dynamic of the group was challenging as the board was focused on strategy and the management team on operations.


Working closely with the Managing Director to determine what he wanted the meeting to achieve – his key outcomes, and those issues that he wanted openly debated instead of “pushed under the carpet”. Obtained a clear understanding from the Managing Director on the progress management had made, his view of the current strategic plan, his view on the competencies of his management team, the culture of the organisation, and lastly his view on each of the board members.

An agenda was structured over 2 days which saw the meeting work in groups to debate and present their ideas on the current and future opportunities. The main rule of the meeting was to think big and not be pulled into “operational thinking” – that things can’t be done.


The board and management worked closely as a team over the 2 days, without any hierarchical undertones. Everyone worked effectively in the various break-out groups they were assigned.

Thinking was pushed, discussion and debate was on the issue and was open and robust. The Managing Director and the Chair of the Board achieved their outcomes – an emphasis on a couple of strategic objectives to be focused on.