Reflections on a Strategy Meeting

People tend to drag their feet, or roll their eyes, when it comes to business meetings. Especially when it comes to multi-day meetings focused on strategy. But in the three years I’ve been working at Lutheran World Relief, our organization has somehow been able to transcend the stereotype of strategy meetings. Sure, by the end many of us are mentally exhausted, but at the same time, I seem to always walk away from these meetings with new energy and renewed excitement about the work we’re doing.

A huge reason for my excitement this week is the presence of the staff who represent the 35 countries where we work. Having a meeting with colleagues in three languages, pouring over strategy and objective documents, and debating the intricacies of topics like disaster risk reduction is inspiring. I am continually blown away by both the joy and the seriousness that our staff do their work.

photo collage of staff in meetings

This week they’ve talked about everything from emergency operations to reforestation to rural financing. Working on a framework that requires consensus, at times it has been intense. But it has also been fun. There have been spontaneous dances, stadium-like “waves”, laughing and storytelling. For both the seriousness of our work and the fun we have together, LWR is a great place to work. We asked other staff what they think of LWR’s organizational culture and got overwhelmingly positive responses.

My experience of LWR’s culture over the past year can be summed up in one word: positive. I’ve never been part of an organization or company that is so positive about its mission, positive about its staff, and goes about the day-to-day operations in such a positive manner. – Greg Kresslein, Senior Designer

My experience of LWR culture is a strong loving family, bound together by a strong bond that can not be broken. It is a because of this love that LWR recognizes those who are not present in this meeting and looks for ways and means of making them part of the process. This enhances team work and commitment. – Grace Wangui Gachoki, East Africa Finance & Administration Manager

My experience of LWR’s culture over the past ten months is the organization [provides] room for creativity by allowing field staff to be part of strategic planning. – Baraka Mwambene, East Africa Program Manager