Learn About Each Organization

Once the collaborating agencies have agreed to come together, spend time learning about each other’s agencies, including the agencies’ culture, relationship to change, services provided, and approach to providing those services. Explore the philosophical perspectives of each organization, including the foundational issues and principles that underlie this work. Discuss personal and organizational interests and motivations for participating in the collaboration. Although this will take some time, doing so will create a more solid foundation from which meaningful change can grow.

Tips You Can Use

  • Tour each others’ work spaces. Get a sense of how each organization works with people with disabilities and/or survivors.
  • Identify who can make decisions on behalf of their organizations, and for those who can’t, how to best engage the decision maker.
  • Discuss the culture of each organization, including their openness to and relationship with change.
  • Identify from what levels of organization the collaboration will need to get buy-in (e.g., the executive director, the board) and potential strategies for doing so.
  • Explore philosophical underpinnings of each organization. Consider discussing the following questions with one another: What do we mean when we use common words like domestic or sexual violence, disability, safety, empowerment, etc.? What do we believe about mandatory reporting and its relationship to self determination?
  • Allow each participant the opportunity to describe what they hope to achieve as a member of the collaboration, along with what fuels their passion for working on the issue.
  • Have participants identify their strengths. What do they enjoy working on, e.g., policies and procedures or designing brochures?
  • Ask participants to describe their communication style and answer the question, “What is the number one thing you like people to keep in mind when communicating with you?”