Effective collaborations create Work Groups (may also be called “Action Teams” or “Committees”). Regardless of what they’re called, this is how members are actively engaged, their interests leveraged, and the work gets done. There are three key functions for work groups:
- Strategy and indicator development: The full collaboration identifies the priorities and names the problem to be solved (using root cause analysis). The work group uses their knowledge and experience to develop and refine strategies and indicators to address the problem.
- Implementation: Work group members coordinate activities within the collaboration and with relevant external partners, identify resources to support the work, and communicate progress to the leadership team.
- Leadership: Work group members are champions for the issue, both within the collaboration and their individual organizations. Work group members seek to align their own organization’s work with the larger community strategy whenever possible.
Some additional considerations for forming these teams:
- Consider co-chairs for Work Groups who can commit some time to being a neutral facilitator and collaborative leader.
- Leadership from each work group should also be part of the leadership team for the full collaboration. This helps to ensure consistent communication and promotes action learning. The Able Change framework suggests this as a good structure for systemic action learning.
- A good size for a work group is 7-10 people who are knowledgeable about the problem being addressed, have authority to make decisions and represent their organization, and are action-oriented.
To learn more about effective practices for collaboration structure to keep members actively engaged, take a look Committing to Collective Action as a resource.