A local plan for a global body

Anglican Communion Office

“David facilitated the workshop with all the skill and professional expertise that I knew he would bring to it. He went out of his way to gain people’s confidence by meeting them one-to-one and ran the day with a fairly light touch, giving delegates the confidence to ask questions and clear up any confusion.”

David White, COO, Anglican Communion Office

The Anglican Communion Office (ACO) is the secretariat for the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), a fellowship of 45 autonomous national, regional and provincial churches from around the world, all of which are in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury. In 2016 the ACC passed a resolution that a strategic plan should be developed for this global Anglican community, to run from 2019 to 2025. This was taken up in 2018 by new COO David White, who secured support to engage Action Planning to help develop the plan in time for the next ACC meeting in April/May 2019.

The strategic planning required the input of ACO directors, most of whom were specialists in specific aspects of ministry and had limited interaction with each other on a regular basis. David Saint was assigned the task of bringing them all together and taking them through a process of understanding the need to work more closely, and to gather their input towards formulating the strategic plan.

David Saint prepared a senior leadership team workshop, prior to which he met each of the directors individually to gather their insight and understand their ideas and concerns. He also had a couple of meetings with David White.

The workshop was run in a structured way to help the directors to engage in developing areas of strategic focus. At the end of the day, we had a good understanding of which strategic priorities we should focus on. David Saint then shared the workload of writing up the plan with David White, who consulted with trustees and an extensive network of other bodies before completing the plan.

We helped to deliver a strategic plan that was founded on thorough consultation and was quite ambitious and resource heavy in its scope. The plan was presented to the ACC at its three-yearly meeting in Hong Kong and approved with no amendments.

Consultant’s insight:
It is quite common for senior managers to be specialists in their own fields, and only occasionally required to take a truly pan-organisational view. The strategic planning process is one such occasion, in which managers need to contribute from their own technical specialisms, but also take a view on areas in which they are less expert and, crucially, how these all knit together within the overarching strategic framework. In the case of the Anglican Communion Office there was a further challenge, in that the team was writing the plan for and on behalf of the Anglican Consultative Council, which meets infrequently and has an extremely broad – and global – remit. This was an exciting opportunity to work with a small but expert team, to develop a plan that could have enormous significance for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

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