The next step may seem somewhat redundant, but its value becomes
clearer as we proceed. Each service scenario developed above includes a client
and the intervention focus for the client. It also includes the opportunities
and resources the client accesses through the agency. These opportunities and
resources are the agency interventions. The scenarios also include
information about how the client is coping better, how he is better
off for having received agency interventions. This part of the scenario is the intervention
outcomes
. We then see an agency client with a particular intervention focus
receives agency interventions achieving specified intervention outcomes. For
convenience, we will simply refer to the last two elements in the agency
scenarios as interventions and outcomes.


The primary function of the agency eco system is to produce
interventions achieving outcomes for agency clients. It is unlikely we only
have a single intervention for all agency clients. Rather, we more likely
develop an intervention array responding to the range of issues and
difficulties clients experience as seen in the agency intervention focus. What
should the components of the intervention array be and how should the agency
provide them for clients? For example, should the agency provide them directly
or contract with another entity to provide them on the agency’s behalf?


Focus is on two questions.


·
What
should the specific components of the intervention array be?


·
What
is the best way to deliver those components to agency clients?


Let me emphasize simply making these decisions by ourselves,
without input from anyone else is both unnecessarily arrogant and a plainly bad
idea. Human services agencies rarely and perhaps never provide unique
interventions, interventions not already being provided by other human services
agencies and organizations. There are people who have extensive experience
delivering the same or similar intervention arrays to clients like or very
similar to agency clients. They know how to do what the agency wants to do. Not
to tap into this knowledge and experience is both shortsighted and unfair to
agency clients who deserve our best effort.


Let’s tap into the available knowledge and expertise. We most
assuredly review the related professional literature and consult with experts
whose work is already familiar to us. Additionally, let me suggest another
strategy I have found to be particularly helpful. It starts with identifying
agencies, organizations, and private professionals who work with people similar
to people with whom the agency expects to work. Further limit the list here to
agencies, organizations, and private professionals who provide interventions or
intervention arrays similar or related to the intervention array the agency
expects to provide. The result is a list of entities or people who have
experience and expertise clearly relevant to the expected work of the new
agency. This is the knowledge pool we tap into as we establish the
agency eco system.


For agencies and organizations, identify the CEO, NAME=”ehsm_OLE_LINK29″>Director, or Director of human services and for individual
practitioners, identify their contact name and address. We are developing a
mailing list for the knowledge pool. Additionally, include people from related
organizations the new agency is likely to work with in the interest of its
clients, e.g., schools, law
enforcement, religious groups, and so on. Do not add more than one or two
representatives from each of these related organizations. When complete, the
mailing list includes a representative group of people with special knowledge
and expertise potentially useful for establishing the agency’s internal eco
system.


Send each person on the list a personal letter on the new agency’s
letterhead, inviting him to help develop the new agency, its services
array, and its intervention strategies. A brief explanation of what we want to
do, why we want their input, and what our goal is engages the interest of most
people on the list. Our goal is to develop a working model of a
state-of-the-art system to deliver the expected intervention array to clients
of the new agency.


Members of the knowledge pool are invited to a three-hour meeting
where they share their knowledge and expertise to assist us as we establish the
new agency eco system. They are our guests, so we are careful to make sure they
are comfortable and feel valued. We use the first half hour to share with them
a little about the history of how we got to the present point, who our
Potential Clients are, what we think their issues are, and the types of
intervention outcomes we hope to achieve. We do not discuss the intervention
array developed earlier or how we think the array should be delivered to
clients. Those are the points on which the rest of the meeting focuses.


Use the next hour for a facilitated discussion about the specific
services and activities the intervention array should include. This is best
done using small group discussion and other group process strategies. The
result is a list of services and activities the people in the knowledge pool
think are essential for achieving the outcomes we want to achieve.


During the next hour, focus the participants’ attention on the
services and activities they have said are essential for agency success.


·
What
do they think is the best way for the agency to make those services and
activities accessible by and available to agency clients?


·
Who
is qualified to provide the services or direct the activities?


·
How
should the services and activities be organized?


·
What
do they think the delivery system should look like?


The goal is to develop an intervention model most of the members
of the knowledge pool believe represents a state-of-the-art approach to
providing the services and activities suggested by the group.


Use the last half hour for recapitulation and future steps. Along
with thanking them for their good work and valuable help, we want them to agree
to another meeting. Many and perhaps most will not have the time and interest
to meet again, but many will. They are not asked to commit immediately, but are
asked to remain open to the possibility. Let them know we want to take time to
understand and carefully consider the ideas they have shared and the tentative,
delivery model they developed. We sincerely hope their experience and expertise
continue to be available to and accessible by us as we develop the high quality
agency eco system our clients deserve.


The delivery model the knowledge pool develops uses the services
and activities they think are most appropriate for our clients. Our next step
is to compare their set of services and activities to the intervention array we
developed earlier. The likelihood is their list and our array are similar, but
not identical. Merge their list and our array, not dropping any items from
their list or our array. The result is an expanded array that gets our
thoughtful consideration. Along with our consideration, we discuss the expanded
array with selected stakeholders to get their perspectives and opinions. At a
minimum, we discuss it with a few potential clients, Initiators, and
Authorizers. Based on those discussions, we adjust our intervention array as
appropriate.


We next focus on the delivery model developed by the members of
the knowledge pool. They believe it represents the best way to provide the
services and activities they are suggesting. Our goal is to modify their model
to work with our adjusted intervention array. Through this process, we develop
a working model for the intervention function within the agency eco system.
This working model is consistent with our vision of how the agency eco system
should function and compatible with the views and interests of our
stakeholders.


Once we have our working model, we reconvene the knowledge pool,
including those members willing to have a second meeting. This meeting should
also be planned for three hours. During the first hour, we present our working
model, including the adjusted intervention array and the modified delivery
system. Take care to point out what has been changed, omitted, or modified from
the model they developed. As part of the presentation, let the group know the
steps taken to get to the working model and any perspectives or specific
interests agency stakeholders have relative to the changes, omissions, or
modifications.


·
What
do we expect to do?


·
How
is this different from what they suggested?


·
Why
did we make the changes?


Use the last two hours of the meeting for the participants to
discuss and share any reactions they have to the changes or to the process we
used in making those changes. Additionally, invite them to think about and
advise us relative to any problems or issues they think we will have with using
the working model. Do they think the working model will be successful? If so,
why? If not, why? Are there any modifications they think are critical for our
success? Are there any questions or issues we should be raising, but simply do
not know to raise? After the second meeting, we determine whether or not an
additional meeting would be productive. If so, it should be scheduled. If not,
we proceed with establishing the agency eco system, using the working
intervention model.