The System exChange
The System exChange provides powerful tips and ideas for transforming your local community.
The last issue of the System exChange provided insight on how to overcome barriers by reducing ambiguity. Click here for past issues.

This week's System exChange builds on these ideas and highlights ways to overcome barriers with behind-the-scenes support.
Overcoming barriers to action:
Provide behind-the-scenes support
Let's face it - most of us have a lot on our plates. It's easy for people to forget action items coming out of a meeting when they have many other things fighting for their attention.

How can you prevent this?

Stakeholders who volunteer to take action often need support behind the scenes to actually carry out these actions. Here are a few things you could to do between regular meetings to support action:
  • send meeting minutes that clearly highlight everyone's action items
  • contact stakeholders initiating action a week or so after the meeting to check-in on progress and provide needed support 
  • send reminders a few days before the next meeting to prepare stakeholders to give updates 

Providing support between meetings can help ensure actions are carried out and momentum continues to build to move local efforts forward (Foster-Fishman & Watson, 2012).
Tips for Providing Behind-the-Scenes Support

Consider these ideas for how your organization or group can provide the supports to people initiating action between meetings.

Distribute actionable meeting minutes: add a column to your meeting minutes (see meeting minute template) that clearly lists out everyone's action items with enough detail so they know exactly what to do. Notice how the example action item below includes the email address of the person who needs to be contacted.

  • John: Email principal of Creekside Elementary (Susan Johnson - to ask about opportunity to gather input from parents during upcoming Kindergarten Roundup event.
  • Due date: February 12

Send action reminders: follow up with anyone initiating actions within 1-2 weeks after the last meeting to remind them of their actions and provide needed trouble-shooting support. This follow-up can happen through email or phone calls.

Assign someone the support role every month . Ensure it's someone's role to provide this behind the scenes support each month. One person can permanently take on this follow-up role (e.g., Backbone Staff), or you can create a rotating schedule where team members take turns providing this follow up between meetings.
Meeting minute template to you can adapt to help promote action within your efforts
Example excerpt from an action team’s meeting minutes. 
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Want access to more information about community transformation? Check out the Michigan CHIR Learning website !! This website includes information, tools, and resources to help support local collaborative efforts.

March 2019
Have an idea for a future update? Email us at:
  • Foster-Fishman, P. G., & Watson, E. R. (2012). The ABLe change framework: A conceptual and methodological tool for promoting systems change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 49(3-4), 503-516.