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Coalition Building: Dealing with disappointment when setting priorities

One important challenge with coalition building is that coalition members have their own passion, priority and organizational goals. When you set priorities as a coalition, some of those members will not have their “priority” as the coalition’s priorities. This can be disappointing for members and may even result in them deciding not to participate in your overall coalition’s work. What do you do? How can you keep them engaged in some way even though you are not working on their priority? Join me this week as I provide three recommendations on how to help deal with disappointment when setting priorities.

  1. Acknowledge the difficulty. It can be particularly helpful for folks to be heard and acknowledged. I recently provided some facilitation training and one of the participants talked about how important it was for her to listen to the concerns and to repeat them back to the person in order to ensure that she understood their concern. Once you clearly understand the difficulty and have listened to the person, you can thank them for providing the feedback and can also acknowledge that you would like to work on this area and many others; however, at this time with the resources available, the group has decided to work on a specific area.
  2. Find small ways to promote the work of non-priority areas.  Even though you may not be focusing on a specific priority, you may have a mechanism to share information about other priorities with other coalition members. Consider providing a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly email that promotes the work of partners in both priority and nonpriority areas. You may want to have a section on your website devoted to highlighting the work of others. This can be particularly important if you have a “plan” that includes these different areas. You can highlight various sections of your plan in different ways even if you are spending most of your time on 1-3 specific priorities. 
  3. Be a connector. You may not be able to work on this area as a coalition but you can still connect coalition members with one another who can work together on a mutual area of passion which will help them continue to see value in participating. As a coalition or partnership leader, you likely are connected with other groups and organizations and can find ways to connect people together who can work on similar goals and objectives together. 

So what about you? What have you done to acknowledge and address disappointment when setting priorities?

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Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

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