When working with teams and coalitions, it can be really challenging to determine who gets the credit for collective work. How do you decide whether one organization’s contribution made a bigger impact than another? Or how do you know what actually caused the health improvement? Although our tendency is to want to figure out who made the biggest impact or what intervention or policy change was most successful, we may not ever know that answer. And that is completely ok! Join me as we explore 3 reasons it’s ok to focus on sharing credit rather than assigning credit.
- We can all take credit. Very early in my public health career, I attended an evaluation workshop where there was a lot of discussion on “contribution vs. attribution” or “sharing credit vs. assigning credit.” I realized that by sharing credit, we can all take credit rather than increasing competition and territorialism. We can report the collective success to our funding agencies and boards. We can focus on how the contribution of many helped achieve success that couldn’t be done by only one organization or policy change.
- Generates momentum. When we share the credit for collective successes, it generates momentum and energy toward future successes. We all want to be part of something successful. When the credit is shared and we are ALL successful, there is energy toward setting new objectives and figuring out how we can work together to achieve them. When we don’t achieve the objective, we can also work together to figure out how we can share the burden for not being successful and work together toward a future success.
- Encourages active engagement. In an environment of limited resources, we all have to be very selective about where we spend our time. Since most coalitions (and some teams) are volunteer-based, we have to figure out a way to show value to our members. When we are able to highlight the successes of each of our members and share the overall success, our members will want to be actively engaged and involved. We are providing value to them and their organization and that will encourage them to stay engaged with us!
So what about you? Which of these reasons resonates the most with you? How are you going to share credit for your latest collective success?
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