Participatory Strategic Planning Retreat:
Executive Consensus Building Workshop at YUNGSHIN Social Welfare Foundation
By Chien-Hsin Yeh,
Director of Department of Development
YUNGSHIN Social Welfare Foundation
|Since 2011, Yungshin Social Welfare Foundation's core functions have gradually changed from emergency relief and donations to providing direct services on social welfare. Examples include the foundation's establishment of Sung-Bo-Yuan Nursing Home, Community Caring Stations, at-home caring services, day care services, and a caring centre for dementia patients to be opened in 2015. These services are for elderly groups, particularly for disabled and dementia patients. In the spirit of our founder, we strive to provide high quality services to ensure the elderly people can live a happy, safe and dignified life.
In October, 2014, to ensure that all the supervisors participate in the foundation’s mid-and long-term strategic planning, fully communicate their thoughts and opinions, build consensus among the supervisors toward the foundation, bridge the gap of communication, and ensure a more efficient operation the Yungshin foundation invited the CP Yen Foundation to plan and facilitate a 2-day vision, strategic planning and consensus building workshop.
The collaboration with CP Yen Foundation started about a year ago when we began attending a series of events on dialogues organised by the foundation. Through these events, I came to understand that dialogue facilitation is a specialised discipline that helps team members solve their problems together.
These dialogue workshops often started by scanning the issue's context and analysing current trends. This approach enabled the supervisors to see the relationship between the foundation, the outlook of our field of practice, and the overall political and economic environment.
Participants exchanged their thoughts, resolved the gaps in communication, and established a good starting point for the activities arranged for later in the workshop. At this point, the facilitator helped us open ourselves to a safe, sincere, trusting and appreciative space. We were then able to speak with one another about our aspirations. Together, we sketched both our own trees of life and Yungshin’s tree of life; and the vision of our foundation began to take shape. On the first day, we successfully created a warm and harmonious atmosphere which would make our second day even more effective.
On the second day, we examined the case of “Duofu Care Service”, a social welfare service provider that pioneered fundraising through a new platform, the Go Incubation Board. We studied Duofu’s model of high quality services and its keys to success.
Before the workshop, most of the supervisors had not thought much on the vision and strategies for Yungshin. After one and half days, their ideas were taking shape. The team members offered specific ideas and conductive suggestions. We were able to draw out the blueprint for the next three years. To make sure we could realise our vision, strategic planning including current standing point analysis practices were very important steps.
With the assistance of the facilitators, all the participants cross-examined the organisation’s current reality and presented the advantages, disadvantages, threats and opportunities. We focused on the visions we all agreed upon, took terms in discussing the strategies and plans for the vision, and completed the mid- and long-term plans for the next three years. More than ever, Yungshin's supervisors clearly saw their current status and the future outlook.
Before the workshop ended, the Yungshin participants gave our feedback. We acknowledged and thanked each other. By affirming and recognising others, we affirmed and recognised ourselves. In the process of sharing, the love everyone had for the foundation and one another was strongly felt. We were more motivated than ever.
Although the facilitators were not trained in professional caring services, they helped us use our strengths during the workshop, enabling us to think, express, listen, converge and reach consensus. They helped us consolidate the sparks that were flying everywhere into a glowing sun. I hope we can continue to use “dialogue and facilitation” to help our team complete one challenge after another, to help the supervisors to respect and understand one another, and to build a mutually accepting working environment.