WHY START A COALITION
There are a number of reasons why developing a coalition might be a good idea. In general terms, it can concentrate an industry, business or associations focus on a particular problem, create alliances among those who might not normally work together, and keep the approach on key issues consistent.
Yes, consistency is particularly important in addressing business and social issue. If everyone has their own approach, they can differ significantly, leading to a lack of cooperation and collaboration, it can also lead to a chaotic situation where very little is accomplished. If, on the other hand, coalition members can work together and agree on a common way to deal with an issue and on common goals, they’re much more likely to make headway.
Some more specific reasons for forming a coalition might include:
- To address an urgent situation.
- To empower elements of the business – or the businesses industry as a whole – to take control of its future. This may mean addressing business knowledge, for instance, or looking at economic development in light of globalization and regional resources.
- To actually obtain or provide services. It may take a coalition – either initially or over the long term – to design, obtain funding for, and/or run a needed intervention in the industry.
- To bring about more effective and efficient delivery of programs and eliminate any unnecessary duplication of effort. Gathering all the players involved in a particular issue can result in a more cohesive and comprehensive intervention. Rather than duplicating their efforts, organizations can split up or coordinate responsibilities in ways that afford more participants access to programs and allow for a greater variety of services.
- To pool resources. A number of organizations and individuals together may have the resources to accomplish a task that none of them could have done alone. In general, people and organizations join coalitions to do just that – accomplish together what they cannot have done alone.
- To increase communication among groups and break down stereotypes. Bringing together groups and individuals from many sectors of business can create alliances where there was little contact before. Working together toward common goals can help people break down barriers and preconceptions, and learn to trust one another.
- To revitalize the sagging energies of members of groups who are trying to do too much alone. A coalition can help to bolster efforts around an issue. For people who’ve worked too long in a vacuum, the addition of other hands to the task can be a tremendous source of new energy and hope.
- To plan and launch business-wide initiatives on a variety of issues. In addition to addressing immediately pressing issues or promoting or providing services, coalitions can serve to unify efforts around long-term campaigns in such areas as business economic development, or educational opportunities.
- To develop and use political clout to gain services or other benefits for the business. A unified business coalition can advocate for the area more effectively than a number of disparate groups and individuals working alone. In addition, a wide-ranging coalition can bring to bear political pressure from all sectors of the business, and wield a large amount of political power.
- To create long-term, permanent social change. Real change usually takes place over a period of time through people gaining trust, sharing ideas, and getting beyond their preconceptions to the real issues underlying business needs. A coalition, with its structure of cooperation among diverse groups and individuals and its problem-solving focus, can ease and sometimes accelerate the process of change in a business.