External Support and Recognition
Another critically important characteristic of effective teams is external support and recognition. In order to sustain themselves and achieve their missions, it is essential that teams gain and maintain support from agencies and individuals not involved in their work, but who can impact their success.
In many instances, external support and recognition seem to be an effect of team success rather than a cause of it. That is, support and recognition from external entities often come after a team has begun to move forward and has achieved something significant. In other words, teams are often recognized and supported more fully after they accomplish something.
This characteristic is noted by teams more often because of its absence than its presence, and more often by teams that are not doing well than by those that are. As such, external support and recognition are often not major barriers to the work of a team, but rather benefits that can enhance performance and effectiveness, and sustain the collaborative endeavor over time.
As teams embark on their collaborative work, they should develop approaches to ensure external support for and recognition of their efforts over time. The strategies that teams employ to do this vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, based on teams’ unique needs, and the specific agencies and individuals from whom they need external support and recognition.
The following examples illustrate how two collaborative criminal justice teams have worked proactively to guarantee support and recognition from outside entities.
- A county–based multi–disciplinary policy team that is organized to
enhance the management of a certain type of criminal offender in the
community conducts periodic presentations to the county’s larger,
multidisciplinary criminal justice advisory board. These presentations
include updates on the policy team’s activities, with a focus on
recent successes and accomplishments, and the members’ upcoming
collaborative work. Early on in its existence, the policy team correctly
recognized that it would need the advisory board’s support in its
efforts to change and enhance the county’s offender management
policies and practices. This proactive and ongoing communication approach
between the two groups provides an opportunity for the advisory board
to provide feedback and input to the policy team, guarantees that the
final recommendations of the policy team will not surprise the advisory
board when they are presented, and significantly increases the likelihood
that the board will be supportive of the recommendations.
- A court–based collaborative team responsible for administering a drug court recognizes and celebrates its successes on a very regular basis. When offenders complete the rigorous program, community members, county commissioners, state legislators, state Supreme Court justices, and local news reporters are often invited to the graduation ceremonies. This highlights for key stakeholders the positive impact of the program on participants and the community, and increases the likelihood that the drug court team will be able to secure local and state resources to support itself when its federal funding has been expended.
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