Natasha Marshall, Feedback Labs | December 1, 2023
StriveTogether is a national network of communities striving to achieve racial equity and economic mobility. StriveTogether has a robust assessment process that member organizations participate in to understand their progress along StriveTogether’s Theory of Action. The assessment process involves a detailed self-assessment for all member organizations on an annual basis and, for member organizations wishing to enter an advanced gateway, a series of four focus groups with their core partners to better understand how the member organization is convening and driving shifts in policy, practice, resource, and power in their region. At the end of these assessment processes, a panel of StriveTogether staff determines whether member organizations have provided sufficient evidence to “meet” the Theory of Action criteria and returns a detailed recommendations report to the member organization.
One of StriveTogether’s challenges lies in effectively co-developing recommendations with member organizations and subsequently tracking the progress made towards implementing those recommendations. They want to ensure that member organizations address the recommendations provided during the previous assessment cycle, even as they navigate a multitude of different goals. StriveTogether faces the need to strike a balance between providing guidance and allowing member organizations the flexibility to explore innovative solutions.
The first challenge that StriveTogether brought to the discussion was figuring out how to ensure that member organizations address feedback from the assessment cycle while also having many other priorities. Some proposed suggestions included aligning feedback with the member organizations’ priorities and gathering information on member organizations’ priorities prior to the assessment to build a sense of co-creation when it comes to the assessment recommendations and process. Ideas for making the feedback process more approachable included breaking goals down into smaller and larger tasks and asking member organizations clear and straightforward questions about how they plan to address feedback.
Another question brought up was how StriveTogether’s assessment process can motivate members to test out feedback without being prescriptive. Members of the discussion recommended starting small when it comes to providing feedback by giving bite-sized recommendations to member organizations to start.
Being Sensitive to Member Contexts
The last question StriveTogether brought up was how to be more sensitive to the specific contexts of each member organization, specifically how to equally celebrate “big” and “small” progress. Suggested solutions included creating a framework for celebrating progress that is easily adaptable as well as assessing the individual needs of each organization at the start of the assessment process.
At the end of the discussion, one of the main key takeaways was that creating a physical report could help address many of the issues by giving member organizations a chance to take notes and more easily organize their priorities. A remaining question was how to communicate expectations of collaboration once StriveTogether develops a more co-creative process for assessing and providing feedback.
Learn More About LabStorms
LabStorms are collaborative problem-solving sessions designed to help organizations tackle feedback-related challenges or share what’s working well in their practice.
Presenters leave the experience with honest, actionable feedback and suggestions to improve their feedback processes and tools.
To learn more about participating in a virtual LabStorm, please visit feedbacklabs.org/labstorms.