If you haven’t already run into it, Collective Impact is the current belle of the nonprofit collaboration ball. It has been hailed by numerous groups – SLHI included – as a model worthy of our attention, and successful case studies on the approach are accumulating.
Indulge for a moment in translation of its five conditions for collective success into a sporting context:
- Common Agenda – all players agree on, and focus on, the same goals.
- Shared Measurement Systems – all players agree on, and focus on improving, the same metrics.
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities – all players perform as a supportive, complementary group.
- Continuous Communication – all players work cohesively throughout the game.
- Backbone Support Organizations – the team has a strong coach and management that keeps everyone organized, well-resourced and focused.
Here’s the paradox. Collective Impact isn’t necessarily breakthrough, yet it couldn’t be more important when considered as both a goal and the tool for achieving it. It has the potential to create the kind of champions that it has in the sporting world.
In truth, there is little that is new under the sun, but there is plenty that we tend to forget precisely when we shouldn’t. Discount it as a flavor of the month if you must, but ignore its principles at your own peril.