By Dave Darsch, founder of This Way Up and the CEO-Collaborative Forum (CEO-CF), @DaveDarsch

How much should the CEO and Senior Management Team (SMT) 'own' the company's strategy? A critical issue for any successful CEO is knowing when the Board constitutes an intrusion to the strategy-making process.

Fine-tuning company strategy is increasingly high on the agenda of  Board members across Europe and the US. More and more are lending their valuable time to the process of providing input and feedback, arguing that they can add value to the process through their understanding of esoteric macro-level trends, and years of hard-earned experience.

Yet knowing how to glean the inevitable wisdom of most Board members is no easy feat. How do we reap the benefit of vast knowledge and experience, allowing it to translate to valuable, crystal clear insight in the here and now, and avail of it in our present challenges and opportunities?

Here are five ways to avoid ugly situations with your board:

1. Take it out of the office

Have your board members participate in a strategy retreat, ideally in an inspiring location far away from the hum-drum of daily routine and office confinement... taking the Board "on the balcony".

The entire board, or selected board members typically participate in such retreats, headed up by the CEO and SMT. Soliciting ideas and input ahead of time is crucial to the process of getting those thinking caps on.

The key is to churn out as many ideas as possible. Then it's all down to a messy matter of sorting through the rubble, refining and teasing out what works, discarding what doesn't.

This way, the strategy retreat lends itself to creative thinking and re-energizing individuals. It can at times be just what's needed to call forth those un-articulated ideas and tacit wisdom so often imputed to Board members, with the added bonus of bringing the team together outside of the office to build interpersonal relations.

2. Get on the Balcony

I have found this method to be particularly helpful in identifying disruptive innovations, or game-changing new business models.

The CEO, SMT, and perhaps even some Board members may not have the capacity to 'get on the balcony' and thus can often fail to identify that new entrant in the market, or a potential impact on the company.

Experienced Board members on the other hand can offer a more objective view on such threats or opportunities, grounded in veritable experience.

3. Create a purposeful agenda, and stick to it.

Ensure your Board agenda for meetings is clear and purposeful. A solid agenda is a potent means of yielding constructive feedback from the Board, by giving members clear guidelines as to the when, why and how.

This will generate open, constructive conversations which can be kept in check with a gentle reminder from the facilitator if things go off-course.

 4. Allow for interpersonal differences

Naturally, interpersonal differences will play a significant role. Bear in mind that Board members are typically extremely busy individuals, and such differences need to be taken into consideration.

Invite facilitators to the room if the board struggles to reach agreement and make decisions together. Suggest apriori reviews for more introverted individuals, or offer them a chance to participate in smaller group discussions if they show signs of discomfort asking questions in front of the entire team initially.

5. Tell it like it is.

Refrain from 'dressing things up' for your Board members. Keep them abreast of necessary information, including the good the bad and the ugly. They will appreciate an honest, informative approach, which helps them feel that they are an important part of a transparent, open communication process.

Remember, cooperation is the key to success. Creating a mindset which is conducive to cooperation between the Board and a receptive CEO/SMT is of vital importance in today's world of dynamic, and ever accelerating change.