Could Your Consortium Benefit From Some Clear Thinking?
As well as working with individual organisations, we specialise in supporting consortia made up of many diverse partners, mainly within local authority and voluntary sector spaces.
We are often brought in when things haven’t quite gone to plan, or at key points of transition, but we also work with consortia who are looking to safeguard their future whilst things are going well.
HOW DO WE HELP?
Our work enables productive discussion to galvanise a group towards a consensus on how to move forward. Whether that’s road mapping and action planning or supporting at a more strategic level, our high-impact away days get everyone on the same page, excite participants towards a common vision and build consensus around the processes needed to achieve that change.
We like to break down our approach into three phases: before, during and after.
WHAT HAPPENS BEFORE
One of the key things we do prior to any away day is to speak with each individual consortium partner to understand key achievements, challenges and perspectives on what, in their view, the away day needs to address. This one-to-one allows us to get to know the participants in an informal way and helps to build trust so they can share thoughts that they may not feel comfortable sharing in front of the wider group. Their feedback informs the shape of the day and allows us to pull out key themes which we can then reflect back to the group at the beginning.
We do this sensitively and in a way that ensures that each partner knows we are talking about the issues that are important to them. By doing this, participants are able to relax and engage in the process, rather than hold onto an anxiety or tension that they are waiting to bring up, because they can see that the structure of the day is going to create space for them to address their priorities.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING OUR PROCESS
Away days are always tailored to the needs of the consortia but there are often common elements in terms of the structure, format and content. However, the most important thing is that, as much as whatever we’ve agreed gets delivered, consortium partners are working together.
Often, activities include defining what good would look like and a prioritisation exercise – exploring what the group sees as the important things needed to move forward in the immediate, medium and longer term. As always, we are inclusive, so we spend time working with the person who has commissioned the work to design a format with which everyone feels able to engage. Sometimes this is as simple as getting input into how to group the participants together for a small break-out session.
Expert facilitation from our experienced team is fundamental in this space. We are not leading these sessions, more so providing a helpful format for activities and asking thought-provoking questions that clarify the task at hand, the key areas to explore, and help the consortium partners to function as a collective so it can agree decisions, negotiate and compromise. Our role is to create a safe, held space in which the consortium can do all of those things.
During the away day, we encourage groups to start by ticking off the low-hanging fruit so that they have evidence of successful collaboration. Then to identify the things that they would like to do with more time, more resources and more buy-in, as trying to do too much too soon is one of the reasons consortia can falter.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
We find that the evidence of being able to work together to achieve success during the away day means there is more appetite for the bigger and harder stuff because the consortium starts to see themselves achieving things together and, therefore, these next steps and other conversations which might be tricky, start to feel achievable.
Our role in the follow up can be varied: whilst we can provide a simple away day with follow up, we are often asked to provide ongoing support to ensure that the momentum that has been created can be capitalised upon. We work comfortably within varied scopes and budgets.
We know that we are stronger together – consortia are a powerful vehicle for change.
If your consortium is in need of some Clear Thinking, get in touch today to find out more how we can support you.