The Pursuit of Excellence at Operational Planning 2016

Nearly 300 leaders gather to create the path to the future.

Kristian Partington

The sheer amount of information on offer as team members from across all 16 Schlegel Villages, the Support Office and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging gathered at The Blue Mountain Inn outside of Collingwood for the annual Schlegel Villages Operational Planning Retreat was matched only by the overwhelming enthusiasm of those in the room.

There is much to celebrate, and this year’s event, themed “The Pursuit of Excellence,” was a time to take stock of all the work accomplished in the past, share stories of success and formulate the operational goals that will guide the organization into the near and distant future.

Chief Operating Officer Paul Brown welcomed nearly 300 people on the morning of Day 1 – the largest group to date – by offering a summary of the seven strategic priorities that will guide the organization as it grows in the next five years. These priorities are critical as the organization continues its quest to reshape the way care and support is offered to those who choose to call a Schlegel Village Home.

These priorities are:


  • Drive measurably better quality outcomes through programs, research and education;
  • Recruit, grow and develop superior team members;
  • Tell our story, build our brand;
  • Drive decision making to neighbourhood teams, residents and families;
  • Build community connections and create community hubs;
  • Expand Village model and capacity through acquisition, design enhancement and build out;
  • Invest in sustainable technologies, infrastructure, systems and data analytics capacity.


“Our operational plans each and every year should be designed in a manner that helps us to achieve our goals,” Paul explained in his opening remarks on Oct. 12. The summary of these seven priorities was meant to guide the teams in their efforts. They are “the guiding light,” Paul said.

The vision of the organization has always been to offer a living experience for people that allows them to have life purpose, pursue their passions, develop meaningful relationships, contribute to their community and continue to learn and grow.

Over the course of the three-day operational planning retreat, a wide range of people imagined the future while building on the strengths of the past. Residents, family and team members absorbed a wealth of information that helped them understand exactly where the organization stands at present and they harnessed that knowledge as they planned ahead. The goal is not perfection in the pursuit of excellence, Paul cautioned, for perfection doesn’t allow for mistakes. The lessons learned by those who have the courage to challenge the status quo and the limitations of stale thinking come from mistakes, and true leaders are willing to risk them. 

“Excellence,” Paul said, “is about a disregard for the status quo because excellence forces us to work in an environment where there is no limit to what we can attain together.” The creation of this environment and the continual life enhancement of all villagers who thrive in it is what this retreat was all about. The enthusiasm and the creative, passionate energy of nearly 300 leaders collectively on this mission together will carry this mission forward. 

Watch for more stories to come . . .