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Dynamics: The Building Blocks of Sustainability (Part 2)

Earlier this month, we covered three building blocks of sustainability: mechanics, base-building, and history/future. I have saved one of the most complicated building blocks for last: dynamics. Dynamics is a standalone because it is far less tangible than the other three. The dynamics of a team are about the influences that affect the team’s forward movement. It’s all the elements that are unique to your community and how those elements impact your team’s work. Let’s dig into dynamics a little more by breaking it down into smaller pieces.

  • Climate: this is the environment in which your team is doing the work. It includes things like geography, population demographics, number/type/availability of service providers, and things like customs or culture of the community. Through having a clear assessment and understanding of climate, you can guide the team’s work and help craft a more sustainable approach for the team.
  • Power differences: this is an important one. We all know that some team members and their agencies hold more decision-making power than others. It’s just a fact of communities and teams. However, when thinking through the sustainability of the team, it’s essential that teams find ways to talk openly about these differences and work to manage them fairly. There are many ways to do this, so reach out if you have more questions.
  • Trust and dependability: the biggest factor relating to sustainability and dynamics is trust and dependability. Do team members and the coordinator complete tasks they say they are going to complete? Can you rely on someone to follow through or get back to you? Trust is frequently built through dependability. Finding ways for you and your team to demonstrate dependability to one another goes a long way for building up the sustainability of the team.
  • Motivation: It’s normal for motivation to fluctuate. It’s like a jump rope, going up and down through the course of the team’s life span. What is key is breaking down tasks into small accomplishments that can be recognized and celebrated! When tasks are too big or take a very long time, humans naturally lose motivation (think of New Year’s resolutions or diets or new exercise regimens). When we break it down into manageable pieces that can be celebrated, motivation is easier to sustain. Progress begets progress!

The dynamics of a team is really dependent upon the team. You know your community and team agencies best. This building block really calls upon you using your expertise to build up the team’s work. By addressing these realities, you can work through some of the biggest barriers to team sustainability.

Do you have any experiences or thoughts about these elements? Leave your dynamics views or questions in the comments!