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Section 6. Encouraging Involvement of Potential Opponents as Well as Allies

Tool: Collaboration Self-Assessment

This is a worksheet to help guide your collaboration efforts with your opponents, adapted from materials from the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.

Your group: Yes No Collaborator Yes No
Problem Setting          

1. Common definition of the problem

  •  Do the parties define the problem in overlapping terms?
  • Is the definition of the problem sufficiently broad to incorporate the interests of the opponents?
  • Outcomes are rooted in interdependence?
  •  Is your definition included?
  • Can you reach your goals with the others?

2. Parties are committed to collaborate

  • Does the present situation fail to serve each party's interest?
  • Will collaboration produce positive outcomes?
  • Is it possible to reach a fair agreement?
  • Is there parity among the opponents?
  • Will all sides agree to collaborate?
  • Does the present situation fail to serve my interests?
  • Will collaboration produce positive outcomes for me?
  • Is an agreement possible that is fair to me?
  • Am I an equal player?
  • Will the other side agree to collaborate?

3. Opponents are identified

  • Have those who have a right or capacity to participate, have important expertise, or can disrupt the process been identified?
  • Have disputes about legitimacy been settled? Is the process open?
  • Have size and manageability of the group been determined?
  • Has the internal legitimacy of groups been determined?
  • Are the interests of those not at the table represented by those who are?
  • I am affected by the problem, have the capacity to participate, have important expertise, or can disrupt the process.I view the others as legitimate stakeholders.
  • The size of the group allows my active participation.
  •  I will participate at an appropriate level.
  • My group has consensus.

4. Convenor is appropriate

  • Is there an already existing umbrella organization?
  • Can the convenor bring opponents to the table?
  • Does the convenor have a reputation of trust?
  • Is the convenor an unbiased expert on the problem?
  • Does the convenor have appropriate skills?
  • Is (s)he perceived as having authority to organize collaboration?
  • Does (s)he have a vision of purpose and appreciates collaboration?
  • Can (s)he create and sustain a process of bringing opponents together?
  • I will meet with the convenor.
  • I trust the convenor.
  • I believe the convenor has appropriate skills and no bias.
  • I agree with the vision of purpose and collaborative process.
  • I will work with the convenor.

5. Resources have been identified and are adequate.

  • Are resources available?
  • Can adequate resources to allow everyone to participate equally be secured?
  • I have available resources.
Direction Setting          

1. Ground rules have been established.

  • Are all parties are involved in outlining acceptable and unacceptable behavior?
  • Do all parties agree on ground rules?
  • I was involved in developing ground rules.
  • I agree to abide by the ground rules.

2. Agenda is set.

  • Does the agenda reflect the interests of all parties?
  • Are there rules for adding or deleting items of special concern?
  • The agenda reflects my interests.
  • I am able to influence the agenda.

3. Subgroups are formed if necessary.

  • Should subgroups be formed to address distinct issues (particularly if more than enough people are available)?
  •  Is membership on subgroups diverse enough to get a wide range of input?
  • I will work with a subgroup.

4. Information is sought jointly.

  • Do parties agree on facts supporting problem definition?
  • Do parties search for facts together?
  • Do parties mutually examine data?
  • Are technical experts and expert witnesses used for controversial issues?
  • I agree with the facts supporting problem definition.
  • I worked with others to find the facts.
  • I examined the facts with others.

5. Multiple options are explored.

  • Have multiple options been explored before choosing alternatives?
  • Are subgroups used to examine options more closely?
  • If appropriate, are outside experts used to generate options?
  • I have examined multiple options.

6. Reaching final agreement.

  • Are all parties committed to a single option or package of options?
  •  I am committed to the final option(s).

1. Dealing with constituencies.

  • Do opponents' constituencies understand the rationale for tradeoffs and ultimately support the agreement?
  • Does my constituency understand the rationale for tradeoffs?
  • Does my constituency support the agreement?

2. Do those needed to implement the agreement support it?

  • Do all parties support the agreement?
  • Will all parties work to implement the agreement?
  •  I support the agreement and will implement it if necessary.

3. Extent of effort is determined.

  • Is a structure in place to permit a gradual institutionalization of the agreement reached?
  • Are there long-term structures to support collective effort?
  • Is there an ongoing forum for future problem-solving?
  • Is there a framework for regulating the group's efforts?

4. Compliance is monitored.

  • Are the opponents following through with the agreements?
  • Are there opportunities available to work through cultural differences, historical conflicts, and others barriers to implementation?
  • Are monitoring responsibilities clearly spelled out?
  • Are sanctions needed?




  • Option A: How would you use this information to become an effective collaborator?
  • Option B: How would you use this information to ensure more effective collaboration?