When They Won’t Commit to the Team
In talking with teams, I come across that regular (though not frequent) question of, “What do I do if I can’t get someone to work with the team?” This is usually when it involves one of the core team members (advocacy, health professionals, law enforcement, or prosecution). Team coordinators express their worry and frustration that the team can’t accomplish anything or move forward until each agency is fully on board and participating in all aspects of the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). This is not a post about how you can still get them to commit if you just try ______. This is a post to give you permission and a reminder.
First, your team has permission to move forward without that particular agency, for now. The important part of that sentence is for now. You can move forward in making critical changes as a committed group of professionals and check-in with that agency at a later date. It might be a month or a year or even, five years before that other agency will commit to being part of the team. Yes, that means there is a critical partner who isn’t changing their practice. And sometimes, that has to be okay for a little bit. You have permission to keep moving forward.
Second, your reminder: you can do outstanding work as a team without every agency being fully on-board. Just for now, imagine all the really great changes you can make for victims/survivors with the agencies that have agreed to commit to the team. What good work and meaningful changes are you able to accomplish with those agencies? Use your precious time, energy, and resources on the things you can control. Use that success and momentum to open the door for the holdout agencies at a later date. Sometimes, an agency needs to see good work happening for them to sign on and agree to the work of the SART. Sometimes, the internal politics shift and that opens the door for SART participation. Until the necessary shifts occur, you and your current team members can do great things together!
Uncertainty to commit, no matter how hard you try, happens sometimes. If that’s happening to you, take a deep breath; it’s going to be okay! You have permission and the reminder to go do the great work that your current team roster is capable of doing.
As always, leave any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or experiences in the comments.