Working across Boundaries: Making Collaboration Work in Government and Nonprofit Organizations

Working across Boundaries: Making Collaboration Work in Government and Nonprofit Organizations

Working across Boundaries: Making Collaboration Work in Government and Nonprofit Organizations

Working across Boundaries: Making Collaboration Work in Government and Nonprofit Organizations

Synopsis

Working Across Boundaries is a practical guide for nonprofit and government professionals who want to learn the techniques and strategies of successful collaboration. Written by Russell M. Linden, one of the most widely recognized experts in organizational change, this no nonsense book shows how to make collaboration work in the real world. It offers practitioners a framework for developing collaborative relationships and shows them how to adopt strategies that have proven to be successful with a wide range of organizations. Filled with in-depth case studies-including a particularly challenging case in which police officers and social workers overcome the inherent differences in their cultures to help abused children-the book clearly shows how organizations have dealt with the hard issues of collaboration. Working Across Boundaries includes
  • Information on how to select potential partners
  • Guidelines for determining what kinds of projects lend themselves to collaboration and which do not
  • Suggestions on how to avoid common pitfalls of collaboration
  • Strategies proven to work consistently
  • The phases most collaborative projects go through
  • The nature of collaborative leadership

Excerpt

Why do so many people find it difficult to work across boundaries? The question has intrigued me since the late 1970s. I was director of a nonprofit agency serving the handicapped. One of our programs provided teachers to work with parents of handicapped or at-risk infants. As the program grew, I began having conversations with other human services leaders whose agencies also ran home-based services. Was there a way to pool our resources, integrate our services, and greatly expand our effectiveness and impact? Many of us thought there was. After all, the health department sent nurses into most of the homes our teachers visited. The area’s social services departments saw many of our clients. Some of our families sent their preschoolers to Head Start. In all, more than ten human services and educational agencies were seeing many of the same families. It seemed obvious that we could pull together and create an integrated program that included all relevant services.

Obvious, but not easy. We formed a steering committee and met monthly for close to a year. Sadly, little came of the effort. Our organizations exchanged lots of information; we got to know one another better, may have picked up some useful ideas for new funding sources, but we found no way to do any meaningful collaboration. Everyone seemed well-intentioned, there were no major concerns about ego and turf, it just didn’t happen. Why was that?

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