When colleagues/organisations face pressure to adapt to the external environment, or need to increase income, or want to raise staff motivation or intend to spend time to develop a new line of work, or all of these, dedicated time together to analyse the situation and then to develop a strategy is likely to be essential.
Inviting an external person to plan the process and facilitate the discussion may increase success in creating the future strategy.
Facilitation for strategy creation
The addition of a facilitator to this process adds value through:
- Enabling all members of the team to participate, which is not feasible if one person is designated to chair the discussions.
- Bringing an independent viewpoint and an approach that engenders trust from all participants.
- Listening and learning about the organisation and the current situation through a briefing meeting and reading key background documents.
- Committing time to plan the process and tasks of the day so the focus is on key aspects and leads to an agreed action plan.
- Applying expertise in the group process to ensure the contribution of the knowledge, skills, approach and values of the team are maximised in the application to plans for the future.
In the current climate of funding cuts at a time of increased demand, operational management takes all the time available and more. Creating an opportunity for the team to take forward strategic decisions can be a challenge. Setting up periodic meetings chaired by the facilitator assists the team to create space and ensure that the strategic level work is delivered.
Senior leadership teams and project teams in charities, social enterprises, Universities and local authorities.
Boards of trustees/directors of charities and companies limited by guarantee including:
- Independent hospices.
- Youth organisations.
- Organisations of and with disabled people.
- Organisations involved with the arts.
Sarah Hargreaves led the Partners in Success Programme for Chairs and Chief Executives of Independent Hospices for several years as Governance Consultant to Hospice UK.
"I have participated in three Partners in Success workshops co-facilitated by Sarah Hargreaves for Hospice UK (then Help the Hospices). These are for Chairs and Chief Executives of hospices to develop this pivotal partnership around which successful governance and management turns."
"Clearly [Sarah] a gifted facilitator whom I recall as being ready to intervene when judged necessary but otherwise letting us get on with it. We readily felt we could trust [her] and always felt encouraged." Peter Holliday, Chief Executive, St Giles Hospice (October 2014)
Sarah facilitated the planning and delivery of Board Away Days for the the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund from 1998 to 2007.
"I worked with Sarah in my role as Chief Executive of the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund from 2005. She planned and led more than ten of the annual strategic planning away days held by the Board of Trustees from 1998. Sarah’s responsiveness to both the briefing and the discussions on the away day, her warmth and energy as well as a focus on time and task meant we continued to invite her back to undertake this significant role in the life of the Fund. I recommend Sarah as a highly skilled and experienced facilitator who ensures all participants are engaged and that the desired outcomes are achieved." Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust