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Section Four

Tools for Initiating and Evaluating Interagency Collaboration

In this section, we offer a series of worksheets to help you collect information to evaluate current efforts and to guide future efforts in working together.

The first set of worksheets is specific to hazardous waste sites and will help agencies identify key partners, information, and history related to a particular site. The second set of worksheets, designed for members of your collaborative, will enhance organizational understanding, identify areas of common purpose, and help potential collaborators develop a shared vision and mission. The third set of worksheets provides assistance in developing and implementing a joint work plan.

The last set of worksheets provides a framework for agencies to evaluate their efforts with working together and to identify factors that could impede or enhance their collaborative ability.

Each worksheet will specify whether it can be completed individually or needs a group effort. The worksheets are grouped by subject area and are listed in the suggested order for completion.

Not all collaborative efforts will need to complete every worksheet. In certain cases, a worksheet will reference another worksheet, which we suggest you complete before or after the one you have selected.

Stages of Collaboration

"Poor relationships will kill almost any alliance; without strong relationships there's no trust, and without trust there will be no collaboration. When trust has been built, people are usually willing to give one another the benefit of the doubt and take small risks with each other." (Linden, p. 94)

In getting started, it is important to recognize that forging effective interagency relationships and activities requires time, effort, and patience. Collaboration generally proceeds through a series of stages. Linden likens these to the stages in a romantic relationship: courtship, getting serious, commitment, and leaving a legacy. Alternately, Winer and Ray's guidance builds from the individual to the organization to the community.