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Defining the Action Team: Roles and Responsibilities

The Action Team is a core group of “big-picture” strategists and tactical decision-makers whose level of active engagement may vary by task. Whether civic volunteers, professionals, or political operatives, the critical additional role these people undertake is networking, that is, forming connections of mutual interest and reciprocity with people who have the power to make the necessary change happen.

They are people who have or can make the contacts needed to get information about policy and program development activities at the state and local levels. As much as possible, they should know how decisions get made in the community or state, including the timing of the annual appropriations process. They know which officials at the identified state agencies or in the legislature are to be approached and how they are to be approached.

Through these channels, the Action Team, and the larger partnership in which it is nested, will be able to watch for funding opportunities, a separate legislative line item, or a useful regulatory change; get information from key officials about their policy priorities; and give them information about issues important to the initiative. In this way, the Action Team will be able to integrate the desired child development initiative into multiple levels of policy.

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Action Team members should be comfortable working on many different levels – in small high-level strategy groups with officials, in broad-based community-wide partnerships, and with people new to the issues of child development, social and emotional wellness, and prevention. They should also have a good sense of timing.

Not everyone on the Team will have the same skills, of course; nor should they. Therefore, among the responsibilities of Action Team members are determining what skills and attributes their collective whole should have in order to be effective. For example:

  • What is each person’s strength and style?
  • What is each person comfortable doing?
  • How do Team members communicate and coordinate action steps with one another?
  • Who will be the public face of the strategy or campaign, speaking at hearings and to the press?
  • Which Team member prefers a more “behind the scenes” role?

The Action Team should be small enough and sufficiently cohesive to work efficiently and make decisions relatively easily because members have established trust with one another. Trust generally accumulates over time, through shared work with reliable partners, where people have seen how others operate and come to respect them for their solidarity with the group, their ability to share tasks, to “fall back” when the situation requires it, and to step up when an opportunity arises. As a relatively small group of people, the Action Team can possibly fulfill its responsibilities and roles with infrequent meetings.

 

Updated June 2015

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