Collective Impact Partner Gut-Check

Submitted by Liz Weaver on June 11, 2014 - 12:53pm
If you're going to commit, you need to consider these elements.

Most of us dive into collaborative efforts without much reflection.  You probably quickly think, yes, this is something I believe in and yes our organization has the resources to enable my participation.  And then, many of us just dive into the work.  

Collective impact is collaboration 2.0.  Successful collective impact efforts focus on a complex community issue and strive to make an impact on that community issue.  Collective impact efforts involve diverse partners with equally diverse opinions about the issue and getting to a common agenda takes time and resources.  Typically, these efforts take a minimum of 3 - 5 years to begin to show population level outcomes.  This work is not for the faint hearted.  

In other posts on this website and, Jay Connor has written about the challenges and opportunities embedded in organizations wanting to engage in collecive impact efforts.  This simple grid provides some 'gut-check' reflections for organizations and individuals wanting to actively participate in collective impact efforts.  As a practitioner of collective impact, I think we have to reflect before we leap.  We have to be honest about our passion, ability to commit, and consider both the risks and rewards embedded in collective impact and community change efforts. .  

This powerpoint slide will provide you with an opportunity to reflect before you leap.  

Have anything else to add? I would love to hear from you! 

ci_partner_gut_check.pdf215.17 KB
Gut-checking perceptions

Liz - I agree completely with each of the points on your slide, and would add 'perceptions' as another consideration to be checked.  Depending on the organization that you represent, it is possible that some folks might mis-interpret your involvement.  Be clear about your interests in the collective impact initiative and, while it may not resonate with everyone at the table, being up front about your roles, responsibilities and intentions in the initiative will help to manage expectations.

The second aspect to managing perceptions is to be authentic.  Being true to your intentions will help to build and maintain trust among the group.