#7. Dealing with Roadblocks and Detours
Overcome hurdles and challenges…
All coalitions will have ups and downs, but awareness of potential issues and the oversight to correct them can keep a coalition going strong.
Recognizing the warning signs
Proper coalition leadership means paying careful attention to maintaining the structure of the coalition, but also requires being able to recognize the warning signs of potential problems.
The most common issues faced by coalitions are:
- Poor group dynamics (including tension over leadership, decisions, and turf)
- Loss of enthusiasm among the coalition members
- Changes in member participation
- Emphasis on only long-term goals without the opportunity to celebrate short-term successes
- Insufficient planning or resources
- Outside changes (ex. new legislation that impacts the coalitions goals or loss of interest/enthusiasm for the issue in the community)
What to do when there are issues
The following guide can serve as a resource when issues arise in the coalition and provides suggestions as to how problems can be corrected with changes to the coalition or its approach to completing goals.
It is common for coalitions to be so wrapped up in achieving the next step towards the goal that they forget to celebrate the small successes. Celebrating even the smallest of accomplishments can boost morale and build excitement for completing major milestones. Coalition leaders should take care to build in activities that result in tangible products, give coalition members credit for their work, and provide a chance to celebrate and enjoy short-term accomplishments.
Part of celebrating is to recognize and share success as well as to provide an opportunity to bring up any concerns. If there are concerns, it may be time to do an evaluation of the coalition’s effectiveness. For more on this, check out the link below.
Butterfoss, F. D. (2013). Ignite!. Author House.
Cohen, L., Baer, N., Satterwhite, P., & Wurzbach, M. E. (1994). Developing effective coalitions: an eight step guide. Contra Costa County Health Services Department, Prevention Program.