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Re-Engaging the Team

Many of the technical assistance questions SVJI gets have a theme about getting a team back on track. There are always so many reasons why a team falls into a slump or stops meeting. Most of the time, that slump is a normal response to whatever is going on around the team—loss of a team member, completion of a big project, change in membership or coordinator, change in funding, etc. The good news is that slumps can and do end. I want to talk about a couple of different ways that I’ve seen teams get re-engaged after a slump, break, or shake-up.

  • Rebuild relationships: Rebuilding basic relationships can take a lot of different forms. Most coordinators that I’ve talked to have shared that they make it a point to do individual meetings with team members in a neutral location to discuss what they need or what they want to see out of the team’s work. Others have talked about doing a few team building activities such as a cookout or team potluck lunch. There are many ways to go about getting folks re-engaged with the team.
  • Find a project to inspire team members: Sometimes, folks need a project to work on to get back into the swing of things. Providing people with a small and meaningful project—like a small scale evaluation, updating policies, or assessing the current state of your work—can really kick start that re-engagement. Typically, when teams have lost momentum and then, try to tackle a large project before getting all the pieces back in place, they continue to struggle with the same issues of lack of engagement or motivation. This is why I recommend taking on the small and meaningful project to build confidence and relationships.
  • Renew Your MOU: Revisiting the team’s memorandum of understanding and the commitments each agency made can be a great way to assess engagement and get folks back on board. Most teams can use their mission statements as a way to re-orient themselves, and craft the MOU to reflect their upcoming work and team purpose.
  • Seek out a few new SARTners: When the team is regrouping, it’s a good time to ask if you have all the players present who should be at the table. If you review current agencies and programs and find that there are some key players missing, getting new SARTners on-board can bring energy and enthusiasm to an un-engaged team.

There are so many options for teams and coordinators to come back together and determine how they want the team to move forward. Looking back on past accomplishments or assessing the state of the response can help the team craft new goals to work towards. Remember, slumps are a normal feature of multi-disciplinary team work. You can and will overcome them!

Share any reflections, questions, or ideas you might have for re-engaging you SARTners in the comments below!