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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Collaborative Team Building

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Collaborative Team Building

The following are steps that can be taken for collaborative team building. The lessons learned from this project may assist in the development of multi-discipline teams. These were taken from the NIJ publication What Does It Take to Make a Collaboration Work? Lessons Learned Through the Criminal Justice System Project, which was a 3-year project by the National Institute of Corrections to help state and local policymakers develop a method of working together on corrections issues. For more detailed information and to read a discussion for each step, download the Publication. PDF download: 284kB

  1. Ensure that the people or the group in charge is officially sanctioned and authorized to make decisions for their organizations.
  2. Ensure that the collaboration team is committed to the project/process and that it has a manageable number of people on it—ideally between 8 and 15.
  3. Encourage team members to create a collective vision.
  4. Teach team members how to collaborate. Help them to understand how this process differs from traditional ways of working, interacting, solving problems, and making decisions.
  5. Teach and help team members to ask the right questions, collect and interpret data, and use data to drive better policymaking and decision-making.
  6. Provide team members with some structure for completing the project/process.
  7. Identify project/process outcomes, goals and midterm milestones early in the project or process.
  8. Lay out, inform, and educate team members about the specific steps of the project/process at the very beginning. Increase understanding of where they are going and what they will be doing for the entire duration of the project.
  9. Help policy teams identify and define their long-term priority/strategic issues (rather than their immediate problems) early on.
  10. Ensure that leadership roles and responsibilities are clearly defined and that policy team meetings and the overall process are facilitated effectively.
  11. Ensure that policy teams have the staff support and resources needed to coordinate project/process activities.
  12. Communicate continuously the next steps and activities in the process and the rationale for doing them. Tie the work that is being done to the appropriate steps in the process and ultimately to the project/process outcomes.

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