Facilitating the Revision of AYME’s Strategy

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The Approach

Sue Merchant worked with AYME’s Chair and Vice Chair of trustees to agree an approach for the workshop. A questionnaire was then distributed to an agreed list of trustees and managers to establish their views on what services (client facing and internal) most needed improvement. The suggested actions obtained from the questionnaire, sorted into key improvement areas, provided the basis for the workshop.

Using a set of simple symbols trustees quickly sorted ideas for action into quick wins, things requiring more thought, things which were currently unaffordable, and things which were impractical. They then prioritised the actions from the first three of these lists. The agreed priorities were incorporated in a draft strategy paper prepared by the client and taken forward to a trustees meeting for agreement. Following the trustees meeting Sue advised the client on how to turn the strategy into a practical action plan, showing responsibilities and timescales for completion.

“Thank you for a very helpful and enlightening session which was exactly the kind of help we needed to help us focus on the future.”

The Client

AYME (Association of Young People With M.E.) is a charity which supports young people with Myalgic Encephalopathy (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).

The Client's Problem

AYME needed to revise its 3-5 year strategy in the light of changing circumstances and several new trustees. An external facilitator for a half day strategic planning workshop was required.

The Solution

  • Feedback was obtained from trustees and managers about what the key areas for improvement are and ideas for making these improvements.
  • A list of actions prioritised by trustees and CEO, together with a causal map identifying key priorities, was used as the basis for the revised strategic plan.

The Benefits

  • Trustees gained a good up to date understanding of the needs of AYME and its clients and of the enthusiasm of its employees and volunteers
  • Trustees gained a shared understanding of the most important priorities of the charity and will be implementing the revised strategy to the benefit of clients, volunteers and staff.
  • The volunteer gained additional experience in using these techniques and was able to share these at The OR Society conference.