Oct 26 – Focus on Strategic Planning

 During the summer months Dan Ebener, the facilitator of our strategic planning process, hosted a series of “focus groups” and interviews with stakeholders, contributors, friends, and communities that touch and are touched by our life here at New Melleray. The focus groups included regular Mass attendees, members of the Association of Iowa Cistercians, employees, local priests, our sisters at Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey, former members of our community, local young adults, and several other groups of stakeholders. Individual interviewees included Archbishop Jackels, Dom Gerard D’Souza of Genesee Abbey, and Sr. Gail Fitzpatrick of Mississippi Abbey, and a few others.  Today was our turn to focus by gathering in our Conversation Groups to discuss the feedback we have received and to provide our personal impressions of the current state of things here at New Melleray.

Dan facilitated each Conversation Group’s focus group discussion. He invited us to answer a series of questions very similar to the questions he used with the external focus groups and interviewees. The questions were:

  1. What was your reaction to the focus groups and interviews?
  2. What are the strengths of New Melleray Abbey?
  3. What are the weaknesses of New Melleray Abbey?
  4. What can New Melleray do to improve?
  5. What should New Melleray stop doing?
  6. What opportunities for growth are available at New Melleray?
  7. What threats or challenges does New Melleray face?
  8. What strategies would you suggest moving forward?
  9. What else would you like to share?

Note: These strategic planning focus groups took the place of our monthly Information Forum normally scheduled for this day. 

about Strategic Planning Process

The purpose of this initiative is to facilitate a highly interactive strategic planning process that will enable New Melleray Abbey to study its current environment; reflect on its mission and core values; convene its community to develop a strategic plan; discover a greater sense of direction (vision); design an action plan for the first year; and ensure that the plan is implemented over the next 3-5 years.