It is my strongly held view that trustees, individually and as a board, together with any chief officer or senior staff must set the strategic aims and objectives for their organisation. They are the ones who sit above the organisation and see the context that it operates within, they see the pressure points, they see how bits of the organisation work together and how bits don't. They see the external landscape and the internal one. They should be able to take an objective view of the whole organisation and should have gathered enough evidence in their relationship within the organisation to know what the issues are.
The one thing that I would caution is that it is often worth finding out what the people who receive services think rather than just asking those who are providing them or who are the most vocal. But this can be a priority and should not hold up the development of an action plan.
The board and chief officer have the overview - to ask those with the underview what the priorities should be and to be content with that is not leading but following. If a board is not prepared to lead then, unless there is a chief officer with the authority and the ability to lead, the organisation will be in trouble.
If this were just my view then OK it's just my view. But what we fail to do most times within our Unitarian community is look to best practice elsewhere. There is loads out there. This reminds me of the time that the EC discussed the name 'convenor'. A small group of people discussed this and reported back saying this was a chair's role and then the EC decided not to change the title. For me this suggests a fear of either being like everyone else and/or a fear of having authority. Whatever it is we have to move on. Let us see leadership as a priority not just at local level but also at national level.
I am very concerned that as we move ever closer to another restructure we will face another year of internal change with little achieved to further our priorities. Do we really have this luxury of time?