A former boss of mine used to quote Peter Drucker saying that “culture eats strategy for breakfast”…

Although I have some sympathy for this sentiment, I remain unsure about how you build a positive culture without a strategy – especially one that’s built on sound values and good practice, which is what we want for Health in Mind.

Here’s a very brief account of how we set out to do this and what we learned along the way.

An organisational strategy sets out the route map towards an organisation’s vision and goals. In October 2021, a group of staff and Board Trustees was established to oversee the development of our new strategy.

We named ourselves the Strategy Development Group and were supported by Jen Curran from The Lasting Difference who facilitated the process for agreeing our programme for the design of the strategy.

We used a great toolkit to help get us started and to provoke new thinking about old, and some new, issues. Right from the get-go we emphasised the key importance of engagement with our stakeholders, staff, volunteers, supporters, and people accessing our services.

This feedback really helped us to understand what was working and what needed to be improved, which all helped to shape our new strategy. We identified a lovely phrase used a lot by people throughout the consultations – the “Health in Mind Way”, and learnt how well our values were understood, and crucially how they were actioned and lived throughout the organisation.

The group reported regularly to the Board and there was a special session in October 2022 to get direct input from the Board. This really helped to propel the strategy forward to the next phase with a number of key aspects being agreed, including our identity and purpose; our approach (the Health in Mind way!); our values; our impact and priorities. We fully acknowledged the current challenging environment for social care, including COVID and its profound impact, inflation and its many cost of living implications, and the burgeoning proposals to establish a National Care Service. We took account of these issues and more but were determined to be positive and hopeful in our approach, and to help plan where we are heading and how we’ll get there.

The whole process took over a year which allowed us to hear from a wide range of voices which has made the strategy stronger and more hopeful.

The final version of the strategy: Sharing Hope, steers Health in Mind well over the next five years.

Thank you to everyone who gave their time, thoughts and energy to its development.

Photograph of Christina Speaking at microphone