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UNCG Guide to Collaborative Competencies

UNCG Guide to Collaborative CompetenciesIn 2011, the University Network for Collaborative Governance and PCI jointly published this guide to help build collaborative competencies within the private, public and civic sectors. Co-authored by the University of Wyoming's Dr. Steven Smutko and the University of Arizona's Kirk Emerson, the 28 page UNCG Guide to Collaborative Competencies is intended primarily for use by public officials and managers who are seeking to improve their own or their staff's collaborative competence through continuing education and training. This guide should also be useful to professional trainers within and beyond UNCG as well as university faculty who are preparing the next generation for public service.

Download an excerpt from the Guide, including the table of contents, introduction and references (624KB PDF)

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Back in Wyoming, folks would get together to resolve an issue by dropping by the house, leaning on the hood of a pickup truck for a chat, or going inside for coffee and a visit around the kitchen table. Typically, when we agreed on a course of action, a handshake or a simple nod sealed the deal. Issues were resolved and commitments were made around the kitchen table. In that tradition, I see a great need for public managers who tackle the toughest and most sensitive issues in the same manner, such as the Guide to Collaborative Competencies describes. We can solve the toughest and most sensitive issues facing our states, communities and country, if we have leaders who are well-versed in the skills the Guide covers.

Jim Geringer

Former Governor of Wyoming

No less an authority on citizen participation than the late John Gardiner, former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, stated, ‘With all due respect to the ancient arts of law and diplomacy, the recent development of systematic, teachable techniques for getting at the roots of conflict, and engaging multiple parties in disciplined and voluntary collaborative problem solving, represents something new in the 5,000 years of recorded history.’ This Guide to Collaborative Competencies, designed for current and future public managers, is an impressive compendium of the techniques Gardiner referred to. Knowledge of collaborative decision-making processes and skills is essential to insure the onward march of our democracy. This Guide helps to understand the nature of these processes and skills. Its framework will prove an invaluable tool to achieve the promise of Gardiner’s belief.

Bill Ruckelshaus

Chairman Emeritus of the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources Board, Chair of the William D. Ruckelshaus Center Advisory Board, and 1st and 5th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Guide to Collaborative Competencies arrives at a critical juncture in modern governance. In the world of public policy, the 20th century was an era of honing and deepening knowledge of individual problems and issues. Commensurate with that refinement emerged an ever-more-specialized set of offices, agencies, roles, and responsibilities. In many respects, the world of 21st century decision making confronts challenges of re-integrating the decision making context. Coordination, collaboration, networks, and shared decision making have gained momentum as public agencies strive to work together and with various citizens to address challenges that transcend jurisdictional boundaries, individual agency responsibilities, and public and private spheres of action. This setting requires skills in collaboration, dialogue, mediation, and coordination. The Guide distills these concepts and describes qualities and capacities that support successful collaboration. Through a set of questions, it helps managers and other professionals identify when these qualities and capacities are especially relevant. The guide provides a significant training and management tool for organizations--public and private--that increasingly operate in contexts of coordination and collaborative governance. The guide is timely, practical, and user friendly--a great contribution to the emergent world of collaborative governance.

Lynn Scarlett

Former Deputy Secretary of the Interior

While organizations and jurisdictions collaborate, the competencies of the human beings representing those organizations and jurisdictions always affect the success of the collaboration. In other words, in the world of collaboration, you are only as good as the people at the table. This Guide enlightens us about what collaborative competency means in the areas of leadership and management, process, analytics, knowledge management, and professional accountability. It pushes the boundaries of public policy, public management, collaborative governance, and negotiation by merging them in a new and creative way. It is a must-read for every leader, manager, and student who works, or hopes to work, across boundaries to solve society’s most challenging problems.

Rosemary O’Leary

Distinguished Professor and Phanstiel Chair in

Strategic Management and Leadership

The Maxwell School of Syracuse University

In the current climate, state governments no longer have the luxury to make single-outcome investments. Collaboration is essential to the way that states do business, and the Guide to Collaborative Competencies gives public managers a useful and useable tool to assist in hiring, training, team-building, and evaluation.

Mike Jordan

State Chief Operating Officer, Oregon