Most people agree that we must work together to solve big problems. Funders, nonprofits and public sector organizations create strategic plans and initiatives with collaboration as the core element for success. Various frameworks exist to help us do this. Yet many of us struggle with the day-to-day challenge of translating these ideals and principles into real systemic change.
Why has it proven so challenging to achieve desired traction and impact in collaborative efforts? We posit that leadership is the “x factor” in collective action work.
Successful network leaders understand that collaborating for impactful civic innovation means proactively convening thought partners with the people who need help. It’s having a bias for the collective and bringing all the expertise to bear to tackle a problem. It’s operating from the core belief that everyone has something valuable to contribute. It’s overcoming the thinking that “I’ve got to do it my way.” It’s knowing what you don’t know. It’s walking that fine line between process and getting stuff done. It’s recognizing that relationships are the foundation of collective work and intentionally spending time on them. It’s being deeply committed to staying in the work together to build both immediate and long-term change.
Many traditional leadership programs don’t foster these essential elements of collective action. Maine Network Partners is committed to providing leaders with the hands-on learning opportunities they need to build these skills and mindsets. We believe shared leadership is an essential tool for addressing the complex problems in our communities. When we support individuals and their networks, everyone benefits.
Maine Network Partners Values:
- Support for individual capacity to promote strong and effective networks;
- Work across issues, sectors and social boundaries;
- Connection and relationships;
- Reflection and humility;
- Belief in a better future for all.