An Updated Strategic Plan

On February 9, 2021, the Genuine Contact Co-Owners Group voted to approve the updated operating matrix for the International Genuine Contact Organization.  You can find it here. This plan is expected to guide the organization for the next 5 years - 2021 through 2025.

Below, you'll find the documentation of our process.  A process that took only 4 months, involved more than 40 people that represented a broad and diverse group of stakeholders who spanned the globe, and was facilitated from beginning to end with methods rooted in the Genuine Contact way of working.

Thank you to everyone who participated!  We look forward to fulfilling this plan together in the coming years.

Co-creating the future for Genuine Contact

Over the last few years, Genuine Contact has been growing in leaps and bounds. With a shift to being a strategy-focused organization, the development of an expanded membership model (and over 100 members worldwide!), design and implementation of a new brand, and all the other small steps along the way, we're proud to celebrate achieving all of our original strategic plan.

To set our direction for the coming 5 years (2021-2025), the international Genuine Contact Organization has undertaken the development of an updated operating matrix including a refreshed strategic plan.

It should come as no surprise that we approached this development using Strategic Planning the Genuine Contact Way :-).

There's a lot of information on this page! We know it can feel overwhelming to read so much, so here's a quick overview of what's included. If you're looking for something specific, the links will take you down the page to just the right spot.

If you're looking to quickly find the documentation from each of the completed parts of this process, you'll find them here! A more full description of each step that is still to come is found below in "What's coming up next."

Session Outputs - Whiteboards & Reports

Our process is designed in 6 phases

Six Levels of the Evolutionary Spiral

A guiding principle within the Genuine Contact way of working is ‘go slow to go fast’. This Six Level Evolutionary Spiral provides a framework for us to do just that. Typically, when people undertake a project or initiative there is insufficient, if any, consideration that they are undertaking something requiring skillfulness in working with change.

It is common to start a project or initiative by setting a vision (expected outcomes), targets, goals, objectives and so on. We refer to this as getting quickly into construction to ‘drive’ to the desired outcomes.

To thrive in today’s performance environment of constant change, when working on a project, team, organization, or even a family unit, go slow at first so that it is possible to go fast. Don’t assume that by going fast to ‘drive’ to the outcomes you want is actually the fast way to go.

Our model for thriving as we work with intentional change is the Six Level Evolutionary Spiral. The diagram is read from the bottom up. Each level can be worked with the Medicine Wheel Tool (MWT) as a platform meaning as you go through each of the six levels, you go through six rounds of the MWT. The choice of what tools to use within these MWT rounds, how long to spend in each, what questions you wish to ask in each round is the artistry of working with this tool.

The Six Phases

  • Discernment is for exploring the topic itself and discerns what appears to be fact from the perspective of those involved. If the topic is about ‘change’, the discernment is about ‘change’, if the topic is about ‘improved innovation’, the discernment is about ‘innovation’, if the topic is about ‘creating a strategic plan’ then the discernment is about creating a strategic plan.
  • Readiness accomplishes exploring how ready the organization is to undertake the intended change in terms of its own health and balance.
  • Engagement accomplishes sorting out the engagement for moving forward and requires engagement of people who are implementing the change what it is constructed.
  • Construction accomplishes the design of what is determined to be the best approach, possibly strategic plan, for going forward to achieve identified results (outputs and outcomes).
  • Implementation is that phase of implementing, possibly constructing and using an operational plan.
  • Monitoring and Adjustment is usually thought about during the construction phase regarding a plan for how progress will be monitored and the mechanisms to make adjustments.

Leadership involved in every step of  the process

Something that is critical not just for the creation of our refreshed strategic plan, but for ensuring we successfully achieve it, is leadership that is involved in every step of the process. Our Strategic Plan Refresh process has been designed with this guiding principle in mind.

  • As the sponsors of this work, at least 1 member of our Leadership Management Team (LMT) (Doris Gottlieb, Elisabeth Tepper Kofod, and Ad van Roosmalen) participates in every whole system meeting (described below) and every meeting of the Strategic Plan Refresh Team (SPRT) (Mariëlle Cuijpers, Thomas Herrmann, Ann-Heidi Paulsen Orvik, and Anna Caroline Türk). This participation ensures that the LMT and SPRT are collaborating on the leadership of this process and are in agreement with decisions being made as they unfold.
  • At least 2 members of the SPRT are present in each whole system meeting and all members attend the working meetings. Members report back to the whole team during planning and after facilitation. This supports our collaboration and ensures that decisions individuals on the team are making are supported by the rest of the SPRT as it moves forward in this work.
  • And the leadership that is within each of us as stakeholders of Genuine Contact. When you choose to participate in this process, you are enacting your leadership by showing up and being fully present and contributing what has heart and meaning to you. These individual contributions are recorded in each meeting's notes and will be considered by the LMT and SPRT as the operating matrix is updated and the strategic plan refreshed.

Who should join in?

In order for a collaborative process like this to be successful, it's important that a diverse group of people come together to offer your collective wisdom. If you're reading this, you are exactly the right person to join in. While all of the parts of this process are connected, each part has been designed to be a stand-alone experience.  This means that you can come to 1, 2, 3, or even all 4 parts of this process, and your contributions will always be welcome, invited, and valuable.

We are inviting participation from people who have:

  • every level of involvement with our international Genuine Contact Organization - whether you are a White, Orange, Green, Blue, Co-Owner, or Organizational member...or even if you're not a registered member at all.  What matters is that you are interested in Genuine Contact.
  • every level of engagement with your learning of the Genuine Contact Program - whether you've taken 1 workshop, a few, the entire program, or even if you're simply curious to learn more one day soon.
  • every length of participation in our organization and community - whether you've been here for the last 20 years, the last 20 minutes, or anywhere in between
  • every way you are working with Genuine Contact - whether you're a Trainer offering workshops, use the Genuine Contact way of working for some or all of your coaching and/or consulting assignments, or are wondering whether this way of working can be of benefit to you and your clients

In short, if you have interest in Genuine Contact, we hope you will participate in this process.

You can RSVP to participate in one of the upcoming sessions here. Your RSVP means you'll receive personal emails with login details to join the session(s) you choose to participate in and a follow-up with the results of the work you contributed to. Participation will also be invited via the Genuine Contact List on google groups.

Opportunities for Participation

Within the 6 Levels framework, there are also 6 steps in this strategic plan refresh process in which you can participate.

You'll find details below about what has happened or what is going to happen soon for each of these phases of our strategic plan refresh.

What's happened so far...

Phase 1: Discernment



In preparation for the strategic plan refresh, the Leadership Management Team (LMT) worked to refresh the foundations of our organization so that they were an optimal structure for the next steps of the growth of Genuine Contact.  This included:

  • updating our operating givens to reflect the current ways in which the organization manages finances, decision making, legal structures, professional designations, and human resources
  • aligning key documents that describe our organization and its structure to reflect the new membership structure
  • developing "how-to" guidelines for the ways in which our organization currently handles regular activities
  • undertaking a literature review to identify key resources to support the refresh of our strategic plan

A Strategic Plan Refresh Team (SPRT) was formed during August 2020. All members of the organization were invited to participate and self-nominated to join this team. SPRT members include Mariëlle Cuijpers, Thomas Herrmann, Ann-Heidi Paulsen Orvik, and Anna Caroline Türk. This Strategic Plan Refresh is sponsored by the Leadership Management Team (LMT): Doris Gottlieb, Elisabeth Tepper Kofod, and Ad van Roosmalen. It is being led by the Director of Genuine Contact and the international Genuine Contact Organization, Rachel Bolton.

In September 2020, the SPRT reviewed all of the supporting documents prepared by the LMT and developed a workplan to conduct the strategic plan refresh within. This plan includes 4 whole system meetings to tap into the collective wisdom of the community of stakeholders connected to Genuine Contact followed by discerning the information collected and using it to refresh our operating matrix and strategic plan.

Orientation Session

This session was held on October 5 and October 7. During the session, we opened the Whole Person Process Facilitation container for this whole strategic plan refresh process.  Participants were oriented to all of the parts of the work we are doing during this process to develop a clear picture of our process and a sneak peak into what strategic planning the Genuine Contact way looks like. The process was designed to help you better understand how the contributions you might make in the other parts of the process will fit into the bigger picture.

Did you miss the orientation session? We've prepared an orientation self-study package so that you can listen to the recording from the October 5 session and follow along to complete the orientation activities for yourself. This recording is about 97 minutes long and the orientation process will take approximately 2 hours to complete. Get started with this self-orientation here.

Output Documents From this Orientation Session, the following outputs were developed:


Survey: Your views on the Genuine Contact Organization

Survey Now Closed

Whether or not you are participating in the realtime Organizational Health and Balance assessment, please take a few moments to fill out this survey on your views of our international Genuine Contact Organization.  It's 7 questions that will help us to better understand how the organization is fulfilling its purpose and how we can measure our success in the future.

Complete the survey here. It will take 5-15 minutes to complete, depending on how extensive your responses are. If you prefer to do this survey as an interview, please contact us to set up a time in the coming days.

Output Documents: From this asynchronous contribution opportunity, the following were developed as outputs for consideration in our strategic plan refresh:

Phase 2: Readiness


Part 2: Organizational Health and Balance Assessment

In this session, an organizational health and balance assessment was completed (as taught in Foundational Module 2 of the program) to make a picture of our organization in its current state. Participants had the opportunity to experience this process first hand (which also supported ongoing learning of how to apply this module) and contribute their experience of our organization. Our collective experience is best expressed when many voices can contribute.  The outputs of this process not only give us a snapshot of where we are today, but can also be compared to our previous assessment from 2017 to see how we have grown and changed together.

Output Documents:

Phase 2: Readiness

Part 3: Storytelling

In this session, participants were invited to share their stories about working with Genuine Contact and being a part of our international Genuine Contact Organization. Whether you are new to Genuine Contact or have been developing mastery in the Genuine Contact way of working for a long time, odds are you have a story to share.  These stories help to make up the fabric of our organization and this session will give us the opportunity to share them and build them into the collective memory of our organization.

Output Document. From this session, the following outputs were developed:


Phase 3: Engagement

Open Space Technology Meeting

Part 4: Open Space Technology Meeting

In this session, participants were invited into conversations that explore issues and opportunities for the Genuine Contact Organization. They posted topics they were passionate about (though there is no requirement to post a topic) and to participate in conversations of interest about our future possibilities.

Output Document. From this session, the following outputs were developed:

Phase 4: Construction

Creating the Operating Matrix

Part 5: Updating the Operating Matrix and Refreshing the Strategic Plan

Using all of the inputs generated during the process, the Strategic Plan Refresh Team worked to refresh the Strategic Plan and the Operating Matrix.

Participants of the process were welcome to join any of the working sessions to be involved in the work of refreshing the plan. As the plan was developed, the segment of the Operating Matrix focusing on the Medicine Wheel Tool was presented at the December GCO Monthly Meeting, the 5 Strategic Themes were presented at the January GCO Monthly Meeting, and a Proposal Development Meeting was held on February 1 to review the updated Operating Matrix as a whole. At each stage, there was also an email to the Genuine Contact list inviting review and feedback from those who were unable to attend the meetings too.

From the Proposal Development meeting you can:

What's still to come...

Phase 5: Implementation



Great ideas will emerge from this process.  If you’re passionate to move ideas into action - get started!

The refreshed operating matrix includes some details about how we move forward together. The first steps of implementation will include developing milestones for tracking progress and signs of future success to look out for. Members of our organization will work together to develop an operational plan/work plan to accomplish our goals based on the strategic themes, goals, and milestones identified in the plan.

As a strategy-focused organization, our collective actions will be aligned with this plan and together we will work to achieve it.

Phase 6: Monitoring & Adjustment

monitoring & adjustment

There are many ongoing opportunities for noticing the activities of the organization, monitoring what is happening and how it is connected (or not) to our strategic plan, and adjusting as needed. These opportunities include:

  • monthly GCO meetings
  • monthly Co-Owners working meetings
  • quarterly Co-Owners "all hands" meetings
  • bi-weekly Leadership Management Team meetings
  • meetings of various working groups developed to fulfill specific goals within our strategic plan and in the reporting back on progress of this work
  • conversations on the Genuine Contact List