At the recent Collective Impact Summit I hosted a panel discussion on Building Trust and Sustaining Momentum with Key Stakeholders with Lindsay Daniller from REACH Edmonton, Elena DiBattista from the Our Kids Network, and Adaoma Patterson from the Peel Poverty Reduction Strategy. Each speaker shared their successes, challenges and insights from their many years working in collaboratives and collective impact initiatives.
So what did we learn? Here are the big ideas for building trust and sustaining momentum that shone through in the discussion:
1. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
It’s all about relationships. Understand the value of both formal and informal relationships. Consider formalizing relationships as a way to gain commitment from stakeholders.
2. Have patience
Trust is earned over time. And small successes will lead to bigger successes. Just be patient.
3. Think systematically
Look for gaps in service and invite stakeholders in. Consider succession planning. These initiatives take time and you don’t want to lose momentum when you lose a key player.
4. Everyone at the table is important
Be inclusive. Ensure small guys have full voice. Discuss as a group the importance of each stakeholder being at the table. Tell them over and over again that they are valued.
5. Focus on the common vision. Always.
When things get heated…which they will, focus on the vision. Everyone is in the room for the same reason: they deeply care about the same thing. Use the common vision as a constant reminder of what really matters and it may help to diffuse personal conflict or barriers and help re-focus on what is important.
6. Communications are vital
Hire a communications person. If you don’t have funds, see if you can get a volunteer. Communicating your progress is so key to building and sustaining momentum. In your communications, create a sense of urgency around the issue – why is this important now?
7. Share data
The data should be owned and accessible by all members of the initiative. It can be a unifying force when there's a sense of shared ownership and accountability.
8. Don’t focus on yourself
As the backbone organization it is your duty to always bring credit to others. When someone’s work is emphasized and valued, they feel motivated and energized to continue.
9. Be nimble
You are not a dictator, you’re a shepherd leading the flock. Be flexible. Be quick to understand. Be open to change. Trust will form when others see that you listen and respond.
In the same way that we have seasons of celebration in our personal lives, bring celebration into your work. Gather together. Eat together. Laugh together. It lifts tired spirits and allows everyone to relax, and re-commit to each other.
What other tips do you have for building trust and sustaining momentum among the key stakeholders?