At times of crisis it helps to re-group and strengthen our teams. Whether our core team, project teams or partnerships; teams that are new or existing; taking time to sketch out a team canvas can be an energising and empowering team activity. A team canvas effectively captures ‘my team on a page’. It is a great tool to reset your scope and focus. Here is a quick guide to developing your team canvas.
VISION – What does success look like? Let’s get specific about the outcomes you want to see and in what timeframe. This can be short – medium term in times of crisis. I ask people to visualise this in a picture/description and take it from there.
PURPOSE – This is fundamental. What are we here for? Get to the real contribution your team are making to the goal: funding, increasing impact of interventions, etc. Keep asking ‘why/so what?’ until you get there.
VALUES – Keep this to 5-7 key values. They shape the way you deliver your purpose. For example: being evidence-based or working in partnership with others. Whatever they are, you they should clearly affect the way you make decisions or operate. Explore what values look like in your team’s day to day work?
TEAM GOALS – You have set your timeframe in your vision, so what are the SMART goals to get you there? Ask the team to bring their own personal goals and add them to the team goal. Keep adding the £s, people, impact, influence until you have a rounded team goal.
TEAM OFFER – The special sauce of any team. Start looking at the strengths and assets of the team. It is worth taking time to really get this right. Ask others to feedback – what is the value-add of our team?
PRINCIPLES AND EXPECTATIONS – Set out a clear scope for the team with roles and responsibilities. We start with what you do and don’t do, to begin to flush this out.
WAYS OF WORKING – Focus on what really makes a team tick – how you make decisions, communicate, who you work with, etc. Check through some of the issues and gaps, to make sure everyone is clear how you work.
This is a great team activity that can be done virtually, with teams visualising, sharing, adapting, editing. Sketch it out in your first session, then build the fuller picture until you have a team canvas on a page.
Contact me if you want more detailed advice, particularly for rapid project/partnership team activities in COVID-19 related response.
COVID19 may be leading to travel bans and cancelled events, meetings and workshops, but it doesn’t have to reduce our productivity, social connection and interactions. Virtual sessions can be even more productive, not just saving travel time and carbon, but getting deeper and more focused interaction with our teams and peers. The key is in planning and preparing for productive sessions, and actively facilitating our interactions. We have been developing virtual engagement for years now and have been asked for ideas for virtual team engagement. Here are some of the learnings to be as productive as possible, virtually…
If we want to be carbon neutral and deliver the SDGs then using the COVID 19 crisis to develop productive virtual working is critical. Virtual sessions can be energising, insightful and creative. There is potential to lower our carbon footprints and increase our productivity, if we plan for productive sessions using creative techniques and supportive technologies. Let’s embrace change while we have to.
Speaking at the ICRS meeting on Partnerships for impact, I shared insights from our research and experience on four calls to action for purposeful partnering.
Purpose needs to run through a partnership or an organisation from intention through to behaviours. Behaviours are determined by the mindsets our partners hold, which are shaped by established mental models and frameworks established over years. Misaligned mindsets can be fundamentally disruptive. Our research in to mindsets indicates we need to break and remake the mental models in our organisations and partnerships, to create new purposeful behaviours. We need to…
Transformational change doesn’t happen in the short term. It takes long term partnerships, not just programmes and projects. So measure the impact of the partnership, not just the specific programme. Benchmark the power and participation of partners at the beginning; diagnose any issues; and measure how effectively they have been managed. Explicitly investing in the success of partnership as well as our programmes and projects, is critical to achieving our purpose.
Some of the best advice we can provide about partnerships for impact comes from analysis we have done on power in partnerships. Power dynamics are real and can destabilise a partnership, even with the best of intentions.
There are tools that we can employ for balancing power:
Organisations are committing to purpose and transformational change that requires partnership. However, there is still an intention-action gap. It takes a whole organisation to deliver transformative partnerships, not just our professional partnering colleagues. We need clear consistent leadership on purposeful partnerships, investing in the people and the enabling environment for partnership working across all actors.
By Rachael Clay
Power dynamics can destabilise a partnership, even with the best of intentions. Diagnosis is the first step to rebalancing power for effective partnerships. Mastering mindsets for partnerships will help to tackle power imbalances in partnerships but more explicit efforts are necessary to anticipate and manage the impact of power in partnerships.
Diagnosing power imbalances
Balancing power for productive partnerships
Power imbalances are inherent in partnerships between organisations with different levels of monetary resources, expertise, dedicated people and influence within the sector. However, if imbalances go unchecked they can undermine trust and ultimately partnership success. Diagnosing the power imbalance and ensuring the value that each partner brings is recognised is a start. Beyond this, formal procedures can ensure decision-making processes are fully consultative and transparent so the influence of each partner is clear and shared learning and rewards can ensure partners benefit proportionally. Power can even be redistributed by incentivising power sharing and offering methods of supporting less financially influential partners. In these ways, equal participation and equal influence can be achieved.
Follow the series to get an ‘overview of the mindsets for partnership and innovation’ and delve deep into each mindset for more insights and tools. Sign up at https://www.ethicore.com/get-in-touch/sign-up/ to receive the series by email.
iii Talking the Walk: A Communication Manual for Partnership Practitioners pg 19