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4. Engage - Engaging People with Lived Experience
This toolkit was developed by the People with Lived Experience Workgroup and Community Champions from 100 Million Healthier Lives, and is brought to you in partnership with 100 Million Healthier Lives and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
Once you’ve recruited, oriented and mapped the role with your new team members, the next stage is one of engagement. As people with lived experience are integrated, you have an opportunity for team-building and learning, based on essential elements of highly effective teams. In this stage, you should see everyone working together to fully engage your newly recruited teammate, building relationships, sharing how the group works, and looking for ways that the process fits or needs adjustment to better accommodate the new member. It is particularly important for the team to look with fresh eyes at how they function, and to consider whether this environment or way of working creates a space where everyone can thrive. By adjusting how you work together, you have the opportunity to create clarity for all team members, build shared agreement and purpose, and establish mutual support and mutual dependence—elements that will give fresh energy to your work.
- Prepare the team to integrate the person with lived experience as a team member
- Consider team’s practices, systems, structures and what’s needed for the individual to grow comfortable and engage with the team’s work
- Integrate the person with lived experience into the team, checking in periodically to see what’s working and what’s needed
Integrating the person with lived experience into the team
- Check in periodically to see if the individual has what they need (resources, skills, information) to fully engage in the work. For example: would they prefer a verbal summary? Printed minutes and documents? Email?
- Observe the person with lived experience during team meetings. Are they contributing their thoughts? Asking questions? For example, ask the assigned point person to look out for them during meetings and check in after/between meetings.
Making it work for the team
- Set the tone for each meeting; review team’s norms, or agreements about how the group will work together. If you don’t have team behaviors, consider developing them - and including your new team member. For example: how to handle conflict, what to do if someone goes over their allotted time on the agenda, etc.
- Build relationships within the team, understanding what each team member brings to your shared work. For example: use the gifts exercise at the first meeting, start each meeting with grounding or ice-breakers, or brief check-ins.
- Use strategies to help focus the team and set expectations for each meeting. For example: agendas that list time per item, goals for each meeting (make a decision, review options, etc.), documenting meetings, what was learned/accomplished in the meeting, tasks.
- Facilitate in ways that avoid groupthink and engage a range of voices and perspectives. Work to balance people who are quick to respond and those who need to think a moment, or need a direct invitation to contribute. For example: ask people to think, then write on a sticky note; or use the 6 Hats exercise.
- Make the team meeting a safe place to learn. Model by asking a lot of open questions. (This gives others permission to ask questions, too!) Always check for understanding before moving on. For example: use plain language, explaining jargon as needed. Define concepts and always give context. Consider having a flag to wave when someone uses jargon to remind them to define terms.
- Get regular feedback from all team members by ending meetings with a plus-delta discussion about what went well, and what needs work. This allows the whole team to adapt to what they hear from each other - not just the facilitator!
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