A Message from the Co-Directors

Thinking about the demands and expectations we all face these days, including our cross-jurisdictional sharing work, often makes us feel that there just isn’t enough time in our days, much less in our project quarters, budget periods, etc., to do everything as well and timely as we would like. At the same time, it seems like the passage of time is accelerating, moving by faster and faster. Taken together, these characteristics of time can feel stressful. Stopping for a moment to take a look both back and then ahead can be helpful in understanding if and when the “big picture” issues important to the projects’ success are receiving proper attention.

Looking back, we’re now a quarter of the way through our two-year cross-jurisdictional sharing projects. For many this is closer to a year or more really when considering the developmental work that went into preparing and submitting the proposals last summer. We know a lot has been accomplished by each project in reaching the quarter mark. Hopefully this is somewhat akin to Winston Churchill’s quote, “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Take a moment, catch your breath and celebrate with your project team the work you’ve done to date.

Each of the Shared Services Learning Community projects has its own timeline and activities particular to its shared service initiative. Yet at the same time, all the projects share something of a general or overarching project pathway. Perhaps it’s helpful to think of this pathway as similar in some ways to the Tuckman developmental sequence of forming, storming, norming, performing and, as others have added, transforming. It may well be if these overarching project developmental issues aren’t addressed, the ability to move ahead with the projects’ specific timeline and activities will be difficult. In reflecting on this first quarter, the forming phase should be a key achievement. Has the project team jelled and is it working well? Are respective roles and responsibilities understood and accepted? Are the critical partners beyond those on your project team aware of and comfortable with the work being done? (This doesn’t necessarily mean they support a specific outcome from the project but rather they are on board with the work proceeding.) Do you know their issues, drivers as well as concerns, when it comes to cross-jurisdictional efforts?

In looking ahead, what overarching or developmental phase issues do you anticipate: decision-making and conflict resolution, information gathering and dissemination, communications audiences and approaches, bringing new partners to the table once under way? The list can go on and on. As we move into the second quarter and beyond, it is critically important to be aware of and attend to these sorts of issues while recognizing they are just as important to the long-term success of any project as its specific timeline and activities. We would very much like to hear your thoughts and get your ideas about the overarching issues you’ll face and how the Center for Sharing Public Health Services can be of help.