Well, it’s the new year and time to think about how 2015 will be different from last year. I just re-read my January 2014 post, “Seven Resolutions for Your Coalition that You Can Keep in 2014!” and still think it was a solid one. But this year, I’m posting an even easier message with the same intent – to improve how you and your coalition or partnership work! This year, my message centers on 2 words: Be Present!
According to John Kuypers, personal leadership coach and author, being present is what we experience when we are completely at peace in this moment. “Our feelings are calm. Our reflexes are fast. Our mind is clear. We are decisive. We know what we want. We know what’s right for us. We perform our best. Our confidence is deep. We know and accept that we have faults and we own them. We feel safer, which lets us be present with others (2002).”
I love to practice yoga, so being more present is my personal resolution for this year. But, is it possible for an organization to be more present? Yes, and it can be the foundation for collaborative work as well. I say this because, in our coalitions, we must commit to accomplishing the overall plan that we set for ourselves. It does not mean that we sacrifice what is happening in the present for what we hope to gain in the future. No, the positive events and energy that we harness now actually make the future possible! It is a smart and strategic way to work.
So, how do we do it? At the risk of repeating myself, I encourage all of you to visit your coalition’s vision and mission yet again. Once you and your leaders are convinced that they still ring true (or after you have revised them), revisit the goals that you have set for your coalition (or decide on a set of 2-3 goals). Are they feasible and actionable? If so, then focus on realistic and achievable strategies that will help you achieve these goals. Who will help you plan and carry out the strategies? What resources will you need to put the strategies in motion? How will you know that you have accomplished them (that is, what are the outcomes that you will track)?
Now, congratulate yourselves. You have created an Action Plan! If you want to know how to format the actual plan, check out this link: http://bit.ly/1KYeLe4. Your action plan should guide your actions for the coming year and free your members to be present to opportunities that involve your coalition in the life of your community. It may mean reaching out to diverse groups that you have not partnered with before. It may involve creating public awareness of your coalition’s issue in innovative ways. It may focus on building your coalition’s funding and resources to sustain its work.
Kuypers, J. 2002. What’s Important Now: Shedding the Past So You Can Live in the Present. Present Living and Learning.