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A Framework for SART Effectiveness: Part 4

Guest Blog by Katie Johnson | STOP Projects Coordinator at SVJI @MNCASA

In today’s blog, we’ll cover two more of the six internal factors that make up SVJI’s new Framework for SART Effectiveness. Next week’s blog will discuss the final internal factor, and from there we’ll move on to external factors before concluding the series. For a more in-depth introduction to the framework and the difference between the internal and external factors, please see the first post of this series.

Today’s first factor is continual evaluation and improvement. If you remember last week’s post about establishing a culture of learning within your team, this factor may sound familiar. A culture of learning is based in large part on the team’s willingness to track and learn from their successes and setbacks. A commitment to continual evaluation and improvement builds on that foundation by making sure that your SART is not only noticing what’s going on, it is purposefully and thoughtfully evaluating its own work and the impact that it’s having on the community. The results of those evaluations are then used by the team to make consistent, ongoing improvements to its work.

Continual evaluation of a SART’s work and the community’s needs allows the team to stay tapped into the evolving needs of the community and to do work that is more responsive and adaptable to those needs. It can also help prevent the team from getting stuck and losing momentum by pointing the team in the direction of changes that need to be made and problems that need to be solved.

The second factor we’re talking about in today’s blog is emphasis on relationships and teamwork. This may seem like an obvious one given that SARTs are, after all, teams, but it can be easy to lose sight of how important relationships and true collaboration are in the midst of preexisting tension between disciplines and the stress of day-to-day work. Of course, each member of the team represents a discipline and agency with its own perspectives, goals, and interests, but when the team comes together, it should ideally operate as a single, cohesive body.

In some situations, this may be very difficult to achieve, particularly if there are one or two members who are especially resistant. If this is the case for you, it may be helpful to start by discussing your team’s vision and model, which we posted about a few weeks ago. Ensuring that all team members and agencies are on the same page about the fundamental purpose and structure of the team could be a helpful starting place for improved communication and relationship-building.