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A PRESSING NEED
Leading effective impact work is a long-term, complex undertaking. For leaders and their teams, getting to meaningful, measurable change takes so many things: planning and preparation; a focus on the right approaches and practices; persistence and sustained positive energy; active engagement and ongoing support from key partners and stakeholders; a strategy for monitoring progress and making course corrections; a strong communications strategy; and the list goes on…
In other words, leading literacy improvement is a marathon not a sprint. Sophisticated plans, skills, stamina, and measurement are at the core. And we know there are three key challenges that slow the pace of change work: getting started, sustaining momentum, and demonstrating results.
A PATH FORWARD
Today’s literacy impact work is at different stages, takes many different forms, and therefore needs amplification and acceleration for many different reasons.
There may have been false start. Or the work got off to a strong start and needs a reboot and reinvigoration; it could just be that sluggish middle. Maybe key players and partners have shifted. Maybe a team is getting stuck in that initial planning stage. Maybe there isn’t yet a strategy to capture short-term progress. Maybe the work needs to go deeper or in a different direction. Or maybe the leadership team is simply at the right point for a step back—a look at the plans and strategy with fresh eyes and new information.
Each of our strategic consulting partnerships is tailored to goals, needs, and stage of work. But as far as design, we most often engage teams in: 1) a deep dive on plans and work against goals, data, and best practices, and 2) facilitated action planning.
Three key challenges that slow the pace of change work: getting started, sustaining momentum, and demonstrating results.
Our strategic consulting partnerships typically take place over the course of 8-12 weeks.
We partner with literacy leaders from: community campaigns and initiatives; school districts; state agencies; non-profit organizations; and philanthropic organizations.
TODAY’S CHALLENGES + OPPORTUNITIES
- Across the nation, we hear from leaders and teams about the challenges of finding the time for focused, strategic work. *It is estimated that 9 out of 10 organizations fail to execute on their strategic plans.
- Three key challenges that leaders say slows the pace of their change work: getting started, sustaining momentum, and demonstrating results.
- The design for the work of many literacy campaigns, initiatives, and organizations often fails to make key distinctions: 1) collaboration vs. collective action; 2) visionary goals vs. measurable goals; 3) data use vs. evaluation work; 4) standing groups vs. working groups.
- Bringing together the science of improvement with the science of literacy is a crucial and powerful next step for many literacy campaigns, initiatives and organizations. A commitment to one without the other is a (widespread) missed opportunity.
- Collective impact research surfaces the role of outside facilitators as instrumental to effective stakeholder conversations and action planning.
- 9 out of 10 partners share the Lectio experience provided a rich opportunity to learn with and from their colleagues.
Having an approach to map the services in our community—around impact—was critical. It helped Ames Reads really understand what programs existed in our community and what we should realistically expect from each program—how our investments were actually going to lead (or not lead) to our campaign goals.
Lectio provided us with the space and skills to really evaluate what we do well and where we need improvement. Some of those discoveries were a surprise – which was enormously helpful! I was particularly pleased that it sparked a conversation about evaluating our impact, which is something we have struggled with for some time.
Lectio’s support gave us a solid foundation to understand and analyze our own impact as it relates to designing highly effective programs that genuinely change behaviors and improve literacy outcomes for under-served children.
Learning about the improvement science and literacy science transformed how I approach literacy program implementation and support as well helped shaped the strategy by which our community is building campaign goals and initiatives.
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Past Roundtable: Avoiding Today’s Intention-Impact Gaps
A conversation about intention-impact gaps that are slowing progress in communities, schools, and states.
Past Roundtable: Collective Impact + Literacy Improvement
A deep dive on designing literacy improvement work using a collective impact approach–the key elements, misconceptions and pitfalls, and opportunities.