“Our trustees were comfortable and confident being led by David. He conducts discussions very clearly and fairly, while being able to make challenging comments that test and push. He is the embodiment of a good, safe pair of hands.”
Chris Munday, Chief Executive, Crossways Community
Steering a board to new goals
Crossways Community is a Christian charity that provides residential care and support for adults aged 18-65 with acute mental health issues. In 2017 Action Planning was engaged by the charity’s new Chief Executive, Chris Munday, to help carry out a governance review, introduce new trustees and draw up policies and procedures. A few months later, with the new board taking shape, David Saint was asked back to help with strategic planning.
Chris asked David to build on his existing knowledge of the charity and most of its trustees (some new trustees had joined since the previous work) by facilitating an awayday, in which to begin shaping a vision, mission, values and strategic objectives for Crossways.
David began by conducting further one-to-one meetings with the new trustees, to gain an understanding of their skills, ideas and ambitions for Crossways. He then led the awayday, steering trustees towards collective agreement on the charity’s purpose and aims, beginning to shape the vision and mission, defining the charity’s values and setting out strategic milestones. This was written up in a report.
The awayday helped the board to move closer to agreement on the charity’s vision and mission statements and paved the way for Chris to write a draft vision and mission document. This was reviewed by the board, reiterated and is now close to being signed off. Meanwhile, the board are working with a clearer understanding of their goals and responsibilities.
Every now and again, it is appropriate to step back and ask, “What is this organisation really all about?” and, “Should we reconsider some of the accepted norms about what we do and how we do it?” You don’t want to do this too often – perhaps every five years; but if you never ask these questions you fall into the trap of “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got”. Crossways were bold enough to explore those fundamental questions and came up with a bold way ahead as a result.