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Stages of Working Together

Neighborhood Associations are ever evolving organizations. New people move into the neighborhood, older members become more or less active, emerging issues bring new people in. With this changing climate, it is useful to understand the stages of groups successfully coming together to achieve goals and to realize that every time new people join a group, these stages may need to be repeated.

Stage 1: Coming Together

This is an exploratory time, getting to know each other, identifying common goals, and agreeing upon basic "ground rules". Milestones of Stage 1 are:

  • Residents attend Association meeting(s)
  • Personal commitments are made to work together
  • Group agrees upon basic "ground rules"

Stage 2: Building Trust and Common Goals

Building trust begins by establishing common ground. Get to know each other, share experiences and ideas. After a common ground is established, you may want to create a shared vision of the neighborhood and agree upon goals to guide future actions. Milestones of Stage 2 are:

  • Individuals get to know each other and discover common experiences and goals
  • Respect develops for the group diversity including others' viewpoints and values
  • Group begins to define shared visions and goals

Stage 3: Developing Neighborhood Strategies

Residents begin to explore options based on their common concerns and shared vision. Milestones of Stage 3 are:

  • Group agrees to focus on specific goal(s) and/or projects(s)
  • Analysis is done identifying steps needed and assets that are available to achieve a goal
  • Actions items are defined and agreements/commitments made to achieve actions
  • Missing "skills" or essential elements to achieve the goal are identified and secured

Stage 4: Taking Action

Commitments are honored and goals achieved. An ongoing evaluation and reporting system is developed to help identify change requirements to make mid-coarse corrections. Milestones of Stage 4 are:

  • Coordination is achieved through completion of commitments within established timeframes
  • Progress is evaluated at regular meetings
  • Adjustments in strategies are made as needed

Stage 5: Sustaining Results/Follow-up

Once a goal is met, it is important to ensure that the desired results are maintained. Likewise, when a project is completes, there are "loose ends" to tie up. This maintenance/follow-up stage is critical. Milestones of Stage 5 are:

  • Group evaluates and debriefs to determine any follow-up actions that are needed
  • Procedures are established for on going evaluations and commitments to follow-up are made
  • If appropriate, future status reports are provided regularly (yearly, quarterly, etc.)

Stage 6: Coming Together (Evaluation/Regrouping)

Regroup. Come back together and evaluate success. This is a great time to bring others into the loop, start a new project, keep the momentum going.

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