A new strategic plan for Odyssey House NSW

A new strategic plan for Odyssey House NSW


Odyssey House is a New South Wales (NSW) not-for-profit organisation that assists clients to deal with the underlying reasons for using alcohol and other drugs.  It provides residential and community-based services that include withdrawal services, residential rehabilitation, numeracy and literacy education, free counselling, individual and group sessions and specialised groups.

Odyssey House NSW sought to re-define its strategic priorities in a changing alcohol and other drugs sector

As part of Nous’ Community Partnership Scheme 2016 Round, we designed and led a two-day workshop with the Odyssey House NSW board, chief executive and senior managers to develop a new strategic plan for the organisation. An important element of the design was an assessment of the critical opportunities and challenges facing the sector, including discussion with a panel of external stakeholders.

Our board workshop generated critical discussion on internal and external issues

The workshop aimed to develop a shared understanding of the factors that will impact on Odyssey House’s future direction, identify strategic priorities, test leaders’ risk in a changing sector, identify capabilities and responsibilities for implementing change, and identify the best ways to engage staff in testing and implementing a new strategic plan. During the workshop we:

  1. discussed what Odyssey House would look like in 2020 based on either business-as-usual or radical change (considering geography, clients, services and partnerships)
  2. reviewed Odyssey House’s vision, mission and values
  3. considered possible outcomes for particular strategic priorities over the next four years and initiatives or actions to achieve them.

Our second staff workshop tested a new strategic plan and actions to implement it

Our second workshop with all Odyssey House staff built on the preceding board workshop to enable Odyssey House to test the draft plan, further engage staff and develop actions for its new strategic priorities. It enabled Odyssey House to confirm its strategic priorities and to gain the knowledge, consensus and actions to execute those priorities.

What you can learn from Odyssey House

  • Ensure your organisational strategy aligns with your mission, vision and values.
  • Engage and gain buy-in from your staff for organisation-wide change.
  • A shared understanding of opportunities, threats, strengths and risks will inform a strong strategic plan.