Hold Team Meetings . Monitor and Evaluate Your Efforts . Sustain Your SART . Know Your Team . Critical Issues
Facilitating a SART meeting may mean educating SART members in new ways of thinking about sharing information and resources. Because the SART concept is one of an equal partnership among agencies, the meeting facilitator needs to commit to shared decisionmaking.
Skillful facilitation will help your SART define and reach its goals, assess needs, and manage interpersonal dynamics. Here are some tips to help you facilitate your team meetings:
- Establish brainstorming sessions to allow the free flow of ideas.
- Tie together various comments, questions, and concerns raised in discussions.
- Confirm that everyone present understands the decisions being reached.
- Work to involve people who tend to be quiet during the meetings.
- Keep the meetings and discussions focused on the objectives of the group.
- Address controversial issues thoroughly rather than attempting to reach a consensus prematurely.
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SARTs that develop ground rules emphasizing mutual respect and victim confidentiality and outlining methods of conflict resolution are better positioned to address issues proactively and sensitively. The following tips can help you hold successful team meetings:
- Establish new member orientation: SARTs evolve and grow. Creating a welcome packet and orientation process for individuals joining an established SART will go a long way toward ensuring that new members feel valued, respected, and appreciated.
- Promote shared leadership: If one agency or individual governs decisionmaking without consulting other team members, the SART, as a group, may not have the "ownership" needed to ensure success.
- Respect different views and opinions: While diversity is one of the essential elements of collaborative efforts, it also results in differing and often unique perspectives about the best way to respond to sexual violence. To develop good working relationships, make sure to respect different roles, responsibilities, and perspectives.
- Acknowledge small successes: Recognize and appreciate small benchmarks achieved on the road to larger goals. To acknowledge achievements publicly, consider putting out media releases or community newsletters or holding educational presentations for schools or community groups.
- Prioritize SART goals: SART team members must be willing to break down barriers between disciplines and seek common ground to reach mutual SART goals rather than agency-specific objectives.
- Welcome community diversity: Enhance outreach to traditionally underserved communities by including perspectives on gender, age, culture, disability, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic and geographical variables in the response to sexual violence.
- Include victim perspectives: Victims know firsthand what can improve the response to sexual violence. Including their recommendations when developing your protocols and guidelines will help to ensure the process is easy to access and navigate.
- Promote sustainability: Consider the budgetary and staffing needs of participating agencies and develop a plan to ensure each agency has the resources to participate over the long term.
- Remain patient: Take the time needed to create core values and a shared vision to anchor the team with a united purpose. For example, in Minnesota, teams started by working on nonthreatening issues. Minnesota has found that teams do not start achieving indepth systems changes until about 3 years into the process.4