Collaborations are greater than the sum of their parts

Collaborations are greater than the sum of their parts

Posted on November 21, 2013 by Pam Truitt

"Transformation means changing the paradigm, the set of ideas and assumptions that we take for granted and upon which we build our theories." - Sir Ken Robinson

I met Terry McGannon, then the new executive director of Sarasota Meals on Wheels, about a year ago, when he and Tess Koncick, the board chair, wanted to know how the local Meals on Wheels affiliate could access collaborative conversations with kindred spirits in their space.

Terry hails from a banking background and is the first paid executive staff for the volunteer-driven organization. Terry’s background serves the organization well. He knows that financial stability will allow the dedicated team of volunteers to prepare and distribute meals to those unable to provide for themselves.

The Patterson Foundation is not engaged with any of the organizations in this space, but I’d heard that Terry was working beyond his own boundaries. A few weeks ago, I sat down with him to learn about what he was doing and I'm happy to say he’s moving the ball forward!

Start at the top with strategic thinking - This helped the organization develop an appreciation for planning ahead with proactive thinking. The goal was to get ahead of the demand curve.

Reach out to others - Picking up the phone takes a bit of humility and courage as not every call from a perceived competitor is well-received. It seems as if Terry handled the calls well and he and colleagues are engaged in conversations around effectiveness and efficiencies.

Learn and share - The calls to local colleagues are turning wheels. Site visits to share best practices for the meal delivery process are scheduled between two Meals on Wheels affiliates. Working with food vendors resulted in cost reductions for affiliates with smaller meal outputs.

This is just the beginning. Terry hopes that as relationships continue to strengthen, there will be more opportunities to explore.

Readers--please share your thoughts. What are you seeing (or) doing in the "working together" space?

  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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