Collaborative Transformational Change

It has been 5 months since I last blogged.  A lot has happened during that time: Twitter has become more popular; facebook is going public ; Steve Jobs, Whitney Houston and North Korea’s evil dictator all died; we started a new year; the economy is showing signs of turning around; and I……..completed my graduate work, passing my written and oral comprehensives!

 My social media life took a back seat when other priorities demanded my attention.  I am finding this experience much like going to the gym – when you get away from it for a while, it is difficult to get back into it.   I find myself overwhelmed by all of the things that I could write about, and while trying to narrow it down, I get pulled into other work and end up losing another day.  So, I am just going to start this blog post with what piqued my interest today.

The Bridgespan Group recently released a report:  Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives: A Promising Approach to Addressing America’s Biggest Challenges that I encourage everyone to read who is interested in true transformation.

The White House Council for Community Solutions worked with The Bridgespan Group to identify effective needle-moving collaboratives (those that have achieved at least 10 percent progress in a community-wide metric), understand the keys to success, and recommend ways to drive more collective impact, particularly to address the challenges of disconnected youth.

They found four common operating principles in these collaborative efforts:

  • Commitment to long-term involvement;
  • Involvement of key stakeholders across sectors;
  • Use of shared data to set agendas and improve results over time;
  • Engagement of community members as substantive partners.

What I find particularly intriguing is one of the five core elements the Bridgespan group discovered as a contributing success factor:

Effective leadership and governance, with highly respected leaders at the helm who are viewed as neutral, honest brokers and who attract and retain a diverse group of large and small organizations to guide the collaborative forward.

Perhaps that is why it is not easily replicated – it is very difficult to find these leaders.  If we are truly straightforward in our identification of leaders, then transformational change will happen.

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