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Change: Not everything has to change

It is easy for us to focus on all the things that are changing and to become overwhelmed with all of the change. While lots of things are changing and there may be some opportunities for new partnerships and new opportunities, not everything has to change. One of the most important things that needs to remain the same in coalition building is finding ways to connect and engage with partners. Even though it may look different in “how” you do it, the focus on relationships and partnerships is extremely important if you are going to continue to work together to accomplish more than you could on your own. Join me this week as I highlight three things that don’t need to change even when everything around you is changing.

  1. Connection – Coalition work is still all about relationships. Even if the specific relationships may change, the work of coalitions involves engaging and connecting with our partners. We may not meet in person or be able to give a handshake or a hug but we can ask questions, listen attentively and be engaging with our partners. One of my favorite new tools is “We! Connect Cards.” Remember, when you ask questions, take the time to acknowledge and engage with your coalition members as they respond. Also, look for opportunities to connect your coalition members with one another.
  2. Communication – Let your coalition know what is happening, what is not happening and how they can get involved. When we are overloaded with change and work, it can be easy to “wait until later” to communicate with your coalition members. Or it can be easy to think you have communicated with them when you have only sent one email about a topic. If you are overloaded, they may also be overloaded and may miss what you send the first time! Also, if you can send emails to specific groups, that can help with the connection and the communication. For instance, you may send out a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter to your entire group. While some of your coalition members may read it, others may miss it. You can also copy/paste the relevant information for specific teams or committees and send it to them as well. You may also want to simply host a “check-in” meeting where you have specific questions prepared and an opportunity for discussion and connection. Not every meeting purpose has to be focused on a specific project. Some of your best meetings right now may be focused on understanding one another and then you can find ways to work together better.
  3. Clarity – With so many things changing around us, it’s easy to forget what we read yesterday or think we said something that we didn’t say. Since we are a little more stressed, we may interpret things differently and may be included to “assume the worst” about what someone said (or didn’t say).  As Brené Brown reminds us, Clear is kind. Unclear is Unkind. How can we be clear in our communication? How can we clarify when things are unclear? How can we be courageous when we perceive something as negative and be willing to go directly to the person (via the telephone or video chat – not text or email) in order to clarify?

So what about you? How are you going to connect, communicate or gain clarity this week?

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