Posted by: Knightbird | July 2, 2010

The Community Readiness Model as a Lean Tool

Chugachmiut staff attended a training session on July 1st about the Tri-Ethnic Center’s “Community Readiness Model.” Facilitated by Dr. Linda Stanley and Susan Harness, who is a member of the Salish Kootenai Confederated Tribes, Community Readiness has been used by many organizations to determine the level of readiness their community is at for purposes of introducing new initiatives or programs. The Model was developed by the Tri-Ethnic Center at the Colorado State University. As I thought about the training, I concluded that using a model like this is definitely Lean. Here is why.

Dr. Stanley spoke about an open spaces initiative introduced in Fort Collins back in the 1980’s/90’s. The first time the initiative was introduced it went down in failure. Lots of time and resources were spent after the initiative was defined to solicit support. According to Dr. Stanley, the reason was the community was not ready for the initiative (low community climate), didn’t know much about it (lack of community knowledge), not much leadership buy in (Leadership) and not much community wide effort (effort). After time spend building up each of the dimensions listed in parentheses, the initiative ultimately passed.

The first introduction of the initiative follows a scenario our tribes have seen time and again. A grant opportunity is announced by the state or federal government. A grant writer or executive sees the opportunity and submits an application. The funding is received. The program is implemented (often very poorly but with great enthusiasm) with poor participation and poor results. The resources are basically wasted.

The second introduction of the initiative follows a lean path. The initiative is examined thoroughly and deemed worthwhile. A Community Readiness Assessment is completed and a conservative profile of readiness prepared. A strategy is developed to inform the target population about the need and the benefits of the strategy and involve them in the formulation of the strategy. Community readiness is increased, the grant is written, received and implemented to greater acceptance and participation.

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