The Setting Matters: How to Create the Container for Achieving Results

Posted January 18, 2017
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Blog settingmatters 2017

For lead­ers seek­ing changes in the lives of entire pop­u­la­tions of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren, trans­form­ing ideas into action is often accom­plished in meet­ings. Yet with­out effec­tive prepa­ra­tion, struc­ture and sup­port, such meet­ings are not like­ly to achieve desired out­comes. A new Casey video, Lead­ing for Results: Cre­at­ing the Con­tain­er, shows how the Foundation’s results-based lead­er­ship fac­ul­ty cre­ate an envi­ron­ment so meet­ing par­tic­i­pants can effec­tive­ly focus on achiev­ing mea­sur­able results.

A set of activ­i­ties from the launch of a project until its com­ple­tion, the con­tain­er is the infra­struc­ture that sup­ports results-based lead­ers as they meet to achieve the results they have des­ig­nat­ed,” Pat­ton Stephens writes in the guide Cre­at­ing the Con­tain­er to Achieve Results. With­out an ade­quate con­tain­er, groups do not have the prepa­ra­tion, struc­ture, sup­port or resources to get their impor­tant work done.”

Doc­u­ment­ing a recent sem­i­nar for the cur­rent class of Casey Chil­dren and Fam­i­ly Fel­lows, the Lead­ing for Results video illus­trates key ele­ments of the con­tain­er, including:

  • ade­quate space and mov­able tables to encour­age communication;
  • data points, mount­ed on walls or flip charts, for the pre­sen­ta­tion of rel­e­vant information;
  • posters that help par­tic­i­pants focus on the task at hand and the desired results; and
  • tools that allow par­tic­i­pants to do the work — for exam­ple, mark­ers, post-it notes and oth­er meet­ing supplies.

It’s a real­ly great oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­vene around impor­tant con­cepts with­out exter­nal dis­trac­tions,” says Matthew Ran­daz­zo, a Class 10 Casey Fel­low and CEO of the Nation­al Math and Sci­ence Ini­tia­tive. When you cre­ate this con­tain­er and you cre­ate the space where folks can real­ly focus on the work and focus on their rela­tion­ship with one anoth­er in ser­vice of big­ger results for the chil­dren and fam­i­lies that we are serv­ing, I think ulti­mate­ly that cre­ates a real­ly pow­er­ful environment.”

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