On January 8th, United Way and Salt Lake County jointly sponsored an event presented by StriveTogether, whom I call the gurus of Collective Impact. The event focused on the continuous improvement model and its application within Collaborative Action Networks. Participants included United Way of Salt Lake and County staff, as well as school district personnel.
What began with a very general overview of the difference between collaboration and Collective Impact, quickly became a very in-depth lesson in continuous improvement conditions and methodologies which definitely caused us to stretch our thinking and reminded us of how critical it is to remain hyper-focused on outcomes.
In fact, that was one of the biggest take-a-ways from the day, from my perspective…FOCUS! Focus on the major priorities and keep moving forward. Don’t get distracted by the “squirrels” (think of the dog in the movie “Up”); there are no silver bullets.
We learned the importance of following the methodology and gained a new (at least to me) tool, the A-3. It also reiterated the importance of staying on track, sticking with the steps, and asking the right questions to get to the answer you need.
The A-3 was also used to remind us of the PDSA (Plan, Do, Study Act) tool, which is simple enough to use in any setting. In fact, it is even used in schools to help students achieve their academic and personal goals.
Our afternoon was spent doing a deep-dive into each of our fields using the A-3 and let me tell you, it was harder than I thought it would be. Our team stuck with it, though, and we were able to use it effectively to think through our outcome. At the end of the day, we had a plan in place and had learned a technique that will be useful for years to come. A huge thank you to United Way of Salt Lake and StriveTogether for this great event!