COLLABORATION STAGES AND MILESTONES
Overview: The stages of collaboration do not follow a straight course. Instead, as illustrated below, stages may loop back, repeat themselves, or overlap.
DANGEROUS SAND TRAPS
Overview: All collaborations experience challenges. Some are inevitable, while others are dangerous sand traps that can be avoided by alert collaborative partners. Below are some common sand traps to avoid, or act upon if they appear.
Organizational Sand Traps
Leadership Sand Traps
Membership Sand Traps
Adapted from Atelia Melaville and Martin Blank with Gelareh Asayesh, “Together We Can: A Guide for Crafting a Profamily System of Education and Human Services” (Washington, D.C.: US Dept. of Education and US Dept. of Health and Human Services, 1993).
BARRIERS TO COLLABORATION
Top 10 List
Most Important Elements of a Collaboration/Partnership
- 1. Resources. The clear #1 advice from IL Community Coalitions is that a coalition/collaboration requires resources – the ability to commit staff time, financial, & in-kind resources to the efforts of the Coalition.
- 2. Clear, Common Vision, Purpose & Goals. Must have common goals/vision based on commitment to children & families that goes beyond loyalty to a program & is shared by at least 2 or more key people in the Coalition. Must identify where every member fits into the vision/goal/purpose and have professional agreement to work toward the goals. Commit to high standards.
- 3. Openness & Commitment to Change. Must be open to the possibility of doing things differently & open to learning & relearning what you thought you knew before in ways needed to meet the mission & purpose of the coalition. Must be flexible, creative & adaptable.
- 4. Communication & Cooperation. Must be open and ongoing.
- 5. Structure of Coalition. Need: regularly scheduled (quarterly, monthly), concise meetings; flexibility in maintaining group meetings & schedules; operating procedures, committees, roles & responsibilities; and, good checks & balances, especially with financial resources. Suggested to hold meetings at a different program/organization each time.
- 6. Shared, Community-Rooted Leadership; Shared Decision-Making. Need people willing to do their part & not drop the ball; committed participation. Need to listen to the community & be driven by its needs. Leaders must have vitality & persistence. Members bring enough knowledge of community strengths & weaknesses to the table.
- 7. Identify & Work Out Barriers. Must be willing to work out issues, challenges, & disagreements. Must brainstorm solutions & strategies to common Coalition, community & program challenges.
- 8. Relationships. It is important to have friends in a wide variety of places in the community & relationships that have spanned years. Helps to have all partners at the table from the beginning. Draw from individuals’ strengths. Recognize champions & strive for non-competitiveness. Members concerns are unified.
- 9. Respect Each Other. Know your partners & the services they offer. Make sure every member has a chance to be heard. Need implicit trust among key partners. Broaden your frame of reference so you can “walk in my shoes.”
- 10. Evaluate & Re-Evaluate the Coalition. Ensure it is able to meet the group’s needs related to purpose & structure. Make certain that it can maintain longevity & meet & establish goals. Evaluate performance & accomplishments.