Checklist: Your Current Collaborative Practices
Stages of Collaboration
Collaboration Stage One:
Getting Together Checklist
Collaboration Stage Two:
Building Trust & Ownership Checklist
Collaboration Stage Three:
Developing a Plan Checklist
Collaboration Stage Four:
Taking Action Checklist
Tips for Successful Collaboration
Seven Key Points to Remember…
- 1. Collaboration is not a quick fix for many of the vexing problems society faces. It will not build affordable housing, … end poverty or stop the tragedy of abuse and neglect.
- 2. Collaboration is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Policy makers must ask what problems collaboration is designed to solve prior to proposing collaboration as the means to solve them.
- 3. Developing interagency collaboration is extremely time consuming and process intensive. … collaboration will not create resources. Collaboration is not always the best investment of resources; depending on local needs and circumstances, some services may be better provided without multiple agency involvement.
- 4. Interagency collaboration does not guarantee the development of a client-centered service system, nor does the establishment of a trusting relationship between an at-risk child or family and a helping adult. If that is the goal of policy makers, they must make collaboration … a central part of their initiatives and not trust it to occur because agencies are required to coordinate with one another at the administrative/management level.
- 5. Collaboration occurs among people – not among institutions. Workers must be supported at each level of organization where collaboration is expected to take place. … Interagency agreements – important mechanisms to clarify, formalize, and spell out relationships and avoid misunderstandings among agencies – must be structured to support interactions at all levels.
- 6. Creative problem-solving skills must be developed and nurtured in those expected to collaborate. Among these skills are the ability to deal with the ambiguity and stress that increased discretion brings … If workers are expected to share responsibility … they must be provided with back-up support and guidance to assure that this autonomy is wisely employed …
- 7. Collaboration is too important a concept to be trivialized. … If the very real needs of children and families are to be met, service providers must find ways to meet these needs more comprehensively and more holistically. Ultimately, this will require more careful, considered, and extensive collaboration.
The above seven tips excerpted from C. Bruner, “Thinking Collaboratively: Ten Questions and Answers to Help Policy Makers Improve Children’s Services,” Washington, DC: Education and Human Services Consortium, 1991.