Dec 14 – Strategic Planning – Strategies and Initiatives

 Today we held our second strategic planning session. (See Nov 30 – Strategic Planning – The Issues, Oct 26 – Focus on Strategic Planning, and July 25 – Strategic Planning Process Kickoff for details on previous steps in this process.) The whole community gathered at 8:15 and, except for stopping to pray the office of Terce, spent the morning identifying strategies and initiatives for addressing the three strategic issues we identified in our previous session. Once again, Dan Ebener facilitated our efforts. In short: we did a brief lectio divina exercise to get the ball rolling; we composed lists of potential strategies to address each of the three strategic issues; from those lists we selected the two or three strategies we would adopt; then we identified three actionable initiatives for each strategy with a timeline to complete each initiative and assigned a brother to be responsible for seeing that the action will be carried through.

In detail:

Dan began the day by guiding a brief group lectio divina on the Parable of the Sower and the Seeds. We shared reflections on the different types of soil, the behavior of the sower, and the implications of the parable for our day’s activity and the direction we would like our community to go. Dan concluded the reflection by encouraging us to think “outside the box but inside the circle” for today’s session.

We broke into three small groups, one for each of the strategic issues. Each group discussed the issue it was given and produced a list of general strategies that it wrote on a large poster board. After enough time had elapsed the groups exchanged boards and repeated the process until each group had reflected upon and contributed strategies for all three issues. When the boards had gone through each of the groups the original board was returned to each group for a final task of identifying two or three key strategies based on the collective list.

With the strategies identified, we were given time to walk around the room to view all three lists. Dan then invited us to form new groups around whichever of the three issues we personally found most compelling or pressing. Each group was then asked to come up with two or three actionable initiatives for each strategy. We assigned an owner (other than our abbot) for each initiative and a time-frame of 3, 6, 9, or 12 months for completing the task. We did not circulate the lists of initiative between the three groups this go-around.

At the conclusion of the day’s session Dan requested that we reconvene each initiative group in a few days to discuss any modifications or refinements that might come to mind after the fact. The we returned to business-as-usual by praying the office of Sext.