Collective Impact and the Tenacious Change Approach

(Approximate Read Time: 3-minutes)

Collective impact is a term and concept that was popularized a decade ago in this 2011 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Since then, it has become a widely adopted theory for describing what large-scale, cross-sector social change looks like. The Tenacious Change Approach plots a journey for how to achieve collective impact.

The what and the how are both important. Since its introduction, there have been both fans and detractors of collective impact. Liz Weaver of Tamarack Institute and Tom Klaus of Tenacious Change documented both the trials and tribulations of collective impact, as well as the “disruptive illuminations” it created for social change work.

Things change when there are disruptions. Collective impact provided an important disruption. It helped organizations, agencies, and others move from depending on singular, isolated interventions to a more realistic view that change required collaborative, cross-sector efforts. This is an invaluable contribution, and illumination, that collective impact has made.

What was lacking, though, was a way to achieve collective impact that centered people most impacted by the change. This did not go unnoticed by people who work in community development through the lenses of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Tenacious Change was among those who noticed.

For this reason, we drew upon our own experience and training to improve upon the concept of collective impact. We observed that the “how” of collective impact was missing. However, we did not want to offer a formula or recipe. Formulas and recipes work best when conditions are identical from one setting to another, which rarely happens in community, organizational, and system change work. Instead, we focused on essential operating principles and core tasks. Regardless of the setting for change, principles and core tasks provide guidance on the journey to achieving collective impact.

The image at the top of this blog is the Theory of Change for the Tenacious Change Approach. It’s essential operating principles and core tasks guide the establishment of a collective change leadership group that prioritizes diversity, equity, inclusion, and meaningful participation. That group leads the community through the Stages of Community Transition to the adoption of supportive social attitudes, policies, practices, and systems that make collective impact on the community culture possible. To learn more, check out this peer-reviewed paper on the Tenacious Change Approach…before it was known by that name.

Our online course, Getting Started with the Tenacious Change Approach, addresses the Key Mindsets which are organized into the Essential Operating Principles that animate the Core Tasks of creating change through collective impact.

You get:

  • 10 lessons, which include 10 streaming videos (20 min max length), each dedicated to a single Key Mindset and introduces and Essential Operating Principle and Core Task.
  • A 6-hour course that can be completed in a single day – like your own personal training event!
  • “Pause and Reflect” activities using the Getting Started with the Tenacious Change Approach Journal, a downloadable PDF which you can fill out online or print and complete by hand.
  • A private online learning community for connecting, networking, and sharing with others also working on community change.
  • Invitations to regular “Change Chats” with the developer, instructors, and guests.

Cost: Purchase lessons separately for $49 US each ($490 US total, if all purchased separately). For a limited time, to celebrate the opening of the course, you can buy the full course bundle of 10 lessons for $390 US, a $100 savings.

We are Scheduling for 2023Ready to work with us?

Check out our Consultation, Workshop, and Training page on our website where you can learn about our core offerings and services. On the first page of that section, we offer some questions to help you think through what you need and how we can help. We also have an attractive PDF version of this section you can download, print, and share with others on your team or in your organization. 

Now, how can we help you make change happen for the greater good in your community or organization? Use our Calendly link to set up a time to talk.

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