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An agile and inclusive plan

Strategic planning is the process of identifying an organization’s strengths, looking to the future and making bold choices to achieve a vision.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have lived through an extraordinary period of crisis where every aspect of our lives has been disrupted. Over the same period, we have witnessed an unprecedented level of dialogue about social justice, which has increased the urgency to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion in our workplaces.

Disruption and progress go hand in hand. While the uncertainty and turmoil of 2020–2021 created challenges for the Royal College’s strategic planning process, it also gave us an opportunity to explore new ways of doing things. As we lived together through unfamiliar collective experiences, we found inspiration by inviting new voices into the conversation. New ideas helped us challenge old assumptions and processes.

Our strategic plan is the culmination of an exercise in which we envisioned an ideal future state for the Royal College – then focused on the best strategies for moving toward it. In what we are calling our “True North” vision and strategy, we focused not only on what the Royal College can do with our people and resources, but also on what we should do. The outcome is a strategic plan that advances the Royal College’s mandate, addresses our strategic needs, and gives us flexibility to respond to new opportunities.

To explore what we should do, we partnered with patients, Fellows, volunteers, Royal College staff and partners from across the health care community to offer their ideas and perspectives as part of our advisory group. We also saw extraordinary participation through surveys from Royal College Fellows, volunteers and staff, which helped expand our vision. The result is a strategic plan that reflects a unique richness of opinion, and that focuses more than ever before on embedding equity, diversity and inclusiveness into all aspects of our program design and delivery.

From this input, we have realigned our strategic priorities under three new categories that support the continuum of learning: building a diverse and expert community that can contribute to shared goals; growing careers by ensuring residents and Fellows have the resources and supports they need; and continuing to foster excellence across all programs and standards. This plan also commits the Royal College to provide a firm foundation for our priorities by stewarding our resources within a culture of continuous improvement, diverse stakeholder engagement and strong business practices. Ultimately, these strategic priorities align with our essential goal: to improve care for all.

Our True North vision and strategic plan continue to honour the Royal College’s two fundamental accountabilities: to ensure public trust by certifying competent specialist physicians, and deliver value to Royal College members throughout their careers.

We have written this two-year plan as a flexible, agile strategy that addresses current realities and prepares the Royal College for continued innovation and growth. As we move forward through the pandemic with optimism and energy, we will continue to seek diverse voices and opinions in all our planning and decision making. We invite Fellows and others to offer feedback, and look forward to working together with you to serve the public good.