There is little question that the core responsibility of a board is to set the mission and strategic direction of the corporation. Instead, the challenges seem to be around how and when the board should participate in the strategic planning process. The answer is critical because it is a fine line that distinguishes a board’s oversight responsibilities from becoming overbearing. There may be many reasons why boards get confused about how to engage in strategic planning.
Patrick Mangan’s article "Oversight or Overbearing" (attached) addresses some of the sources of confusion: the timing and level of the board’s involvement; the difference between strategic and tactical issues and the distinction between governance and management. He says a board that achieves a constructive balance reduces confusion, guesswork and frustration for the board and general manager and can mean the difference between a board’s success or failure.