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Comprehensive Community Initiatives, Improving the lives of youth and families through systems change, a toolkit for federal managers
How the toolkit was created What is a CCI? CCI Tools for Federal Staff
Develop your CCI Project
Guidelines to structure TA
4. Offer TA to support sites as they take steps toward systems change.
How can TA be a catalyst for systems change?
Use TA to...
  • Build awareness of how systems change can help achieve goals.
  • Identify and bring together stakeholders.
  • Examine goals, policies, communication, governance, and organizational structures.

Build awareness of how systems change can help the site reach its goals.

Identify and bring together stakeholders. Make sure the TA provider is available to help guide the site as it identifies and brings together new and old partners. Through these partnerships, the community stakeholders can work together to bring about systems change.

Examine goals, policies, communication, governance, and organizational structures. The TA provider can offer timely resources and tools, and support sites as they consider questions that are fundamental to systems change:

  • What do we want to accomplish with this initiative? What's our vision?
  • Who are the stakeholders, and how can we engage them?
  • Who among the stakeholders will be the partners who participate in the day-to-day work of the CCI?
  • What policies, procedures, lines of communication, modes of governance, and organizational structures need to change so that we can reach our goals?
  • How will we implement these systems changes? Who needs to do what?
  • How will we define and measure success?
How do TA providers help communities form meaningful partnerships?

TA providers act as coaches, mentors, and facilitators. They work with communities to generate ideas, options, and resources to promote partnerships and overcome barriers to collaboration. Systems change depends on a shift in how people work together. TA can help sites:

  • Identify needed stakeholders and enlist them as partners.
  • Convert letters of support into coherent MOUs.
  • Move beyond formal agreements to build trusting relationships.
  • Build a good relationship into a formal agreement.
See: Building Effective Community Partnerships.
How can I set realistic expectations for promoting collaboration through TA?

Allow time for collaboration to develop. Trusting relationships do not emerge automatically or quickly; they grow gradually as stakeholders identify mutual interests, create joint decisionmaking processes, and buy into decisions over the course of planning and implementing the CCI. Even with excellent TA, it may take months--perhaps years--to forge a strong collaboration.

Consider alternatives to collaboration. Not all tasks and goals require collaboration; sometimes another form of working together--for example, information sharing--will be more appropriate and efficient. (See Literature Review - Ways of Working Together, page 2.)