One of the most common reasons we struggle with accountability in coalition work is that we are not realistic about what to expect others to do. Discerning what is realistic for staff, leaders and volunteers can vary considerably depending upon the person. Also, if you are someone who tends to be unrealistic about how much time something will actually take (hand raised) then you will want to ask for some help on this one! Join me this week for three ideas on how to better gauge what is realistic.
Consider what has not worked
One of the best ways to discern what is realistic is to begin with what is unrealistic. When we take time to reflect on what didn’t work, then we can make adjustments for future expectations. As we know, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results (author debated). Once we have reflected on what hasn’t worked, remember to consider what has worked. If it works, then try it again! 🙂
Ask for feedback
Provide a forum for your members to provide feedback on what is realistic. You may also need feedback on the best way to obtain feedback! If you always send a survey and get a very low response, consider sending emails or including feedback as part of a meeting discussion. When you ask for feedback, remember to include options in the feedback. Here is an example: At the end of your meeting, you suggest that everyone provides feedback by next Friday. If you see heads nodding and thumbs up, you have proposed something that will likely work. However, if most people don’t say anything or look at you like a “deer in headlights” you will want to modify your request date.
Remember what it’s like to be a volunteer
Consider how much volunteer time you have to respond to something that is not part of your existing work, family or other commitments. As you think about your capacity as a volunteer, you will be able to be more empathetic and realistic to those people volunteering their time to your coalition, partnership, workgroup or team. This will provide perspective needed to be more realistic with your expectations and will support accountability.
What will you do this week to be more realistic with your expectations?