Reflection Exercise: 10 Components of Effective Coalitions

An exercise to accompany the webinar Effective Coalitions and COVID-19


Source: Dr Stephanie Snape, New Leadership Foundation

Component number

Component of  Effective Coalitions

Further

Self-reflection

What is the position on each component within your coalition? What has gone well? 
What have you learnt?  Can you improve coalition working?  How?  When?

1 Build strong foundations
  • Don't rush the early stages - take your time
  • Build personal relationships - get to know each other
  • Take time to identify shared agendas
  • Take time to develop a written agreement
 
2 Find common ground
  • Explore your respective interests, policies, values & manifesto promises
  • Identify shared, common interests, policies & values
  • Develop a shared agenda & key priority
  • Be clear where there are divergent interests & policies (& clarify how these will be managed)
 
3 Always have a written agreement
  • Any initial verbal agreement needs to be followed up with a written agreement
  • Never shortcut this stage
  • Any necessary adjustments to a written agreement need careful negotiation
 
4 Build intentional relationships across the groups
  • Stable coalitions thrive where time is taken to build intentional relationships across the coalition groups
  • Relationships should not be restricted to leading members of the coalition groups
  • Build relationships intentionally & carefully
 
5 Right people for the right jobs
  • Look across the groups - where possible - to match known skills, experience (& commitment) to leadership roles
  • Building a diverse, skilled leadership team will bring benefits over longer term
 
6 No public surprises
  • Where possible avoid public disagreements or different public messaging across the groups
  • Develop co-ordinated processes for agreeing and communicating public messages
 
7 Keep the groups involved
  • Keep all members of coalition groups informed and involved
  • Avoid the danger of a growing 'them and us' between coalition leading members and their groups
 
8

Invest in active communication

  • Keeping the groups involved is a key reason to invest in communicating actively using range of methods
  • Coalition working rests on effective and timely communication - it's hard work but vital
 
9 Learn, adapt, improve
  • Adopt an improvement focus - reflect on what's working well and what isn't and take steps to improve & adapt
  • Problems will occur - how can you learn and adapt?
 
10 Use political nous and soft skills
  • Successful coalition leaders use their political and soft skills effectively
  • Understand not just the dynamics of your own group but of the other coalition groups too
  • Soft skills such as influencing, relationship building, and negotiation skills are at a premium in coalitions