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Collective Impact

Trust is (Also) an Action

The first time I facilitated a Collaborative Action Network meeting, I knew I was in a room full of people who wanted dramatic change in our community. I assumed that all we had to do was clarify our roles and get to it. I was wrong. The idea that “collaboration moves at the speed of trust” is commonly shared in conversations about collective impact. Its twin, “change happens at the speed of trust,” is also commonplace. Both suggest that trust has to be built before work can begin, so, how do you bring people together to build trust without doing work? To avoid losing collaborators due to inaction or trying to force people to do complex work before they are ready, it’s worthwhile to remember that trust is not just a noun. It is more than a thing that is built; it is also a verb. Here are three elements to consider when beginning (or shifting) work within groups.