Identifying and Selecting the Key Players
A key part of this activity is identifying which organizations should be represented on the team. This process was begun earlier when you listed existing linkages. Now you need to identify which agencies will have a stake in solving the problems or issues described in the tentative rationale. These are the groups most likely to have an interest in working toward joint solutions, especially if they are groups with which you or your organization have established working relationships. However, don't exclude a group on the basis of no previous contact or lack of information about its interests. Be prepared to do some homework on such organizations to determine if they should be a part of the team.
An important consideration is who should actually represent the organization on the team. Experience has demonstrated that team members should either be or have access to decision makers within their agencies. It is important to have line staff involvement and leadership on the team. To a great extent, individual members' power and position will determine whether the team will have the necessary authority to modify how things are done or negotiate policy changes (Melaville and Blank 1991). Prospective team members should also be knowledgeable about their organizations, especially in relation to the problems or issues the team will address.
Issuing the Invitation
There are a number of ways to issue an invitation to become a part of a newly forming interagency linkage team. Your organization's internal procedures as well as local custom may dictate how this will occur. Ideally, who-ever is taking the initiative to organize the linkage team should issue the invitations.
You will have to decide if it is better to begin with an oral invitation or with a written letter. If you decide that beginning with an oral invitation is best, you should plan to follow it with a written letter that includes the rationale for forming the team as well as some estimate of the time team membership will take. Stressing the benefits to the organization of being involved in this type of activity can help offset fears agencies may have about extending al-ready stretched resources.
It is also probably best to issue the invitation to join the team to the head of the organization. Again, local circumstances may dictate how this happens. Beginning with the agency head will help ensure internal support for the team and its activities. It may also secure the type of representative needed, i.e., an individual involved in or with access to decision making.
Questions to Consider in Step Three: Forming the Team
2. What other groups might have a stake in solving problems that affect these clients?
3. How can existing linkages be used in forming the team?
4. What qualifications should team representatives have?
5. How should the invitation to be part of the team be issued?
6. What information should a written invitation contain?
7. Who will be responsible for developing and issuing the invitations?