New Guide to Support Collaborative Decision-Making Using Action Teams

Creating lasting change requires the sustained engagement of large numbers of diverse stakeholders who own, inform, endorse, support and implement the policies and practices needed to produce that change.

Easier said than done!

How to Create Lasting Change: Using Targeted Action Teams to Support Broad & Inclusive Social Policy Decision-Making shares lessons learned from the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s experience creating an action team to launch a collaborative effort to improve third grade reading outcomes in North Carolina.

The guide is intended to support local community or statewide collaborations around social initiatives. It uses the NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading initiative and its Data Action Team process as a case study. The guide, written with evaluation findings from Impact Thread, addresses how Action Teams can be useful to inform a larger collaborative stakeholder process, including key steps like:

  • Determining if an Action Team is what you need
  • Creating an Action Team
  • Considering your resources
  • Determining your meeting format
  • Equipping your team
  • Laying the ground rules
  • Planning presentations and activities
  • Building trust
  • Ensuring effective facilitation
  • Ensuring full participation
  • Successfully managing conflict
  • Evaluating the process and tracking your progress
  • Engaging team members long term

The guide is available free for download here.

NC Pathways to Grade-Level Reading (Pathways), is an initiative of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation in partnership with NC Child, the North Carolina Partnership for Children, and BEST NC. Pathways’ vision is bold—all NC children, regardless of race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, are reading on grade-level by the end of third grade—and all children with disabilities achieve expressive and receptive communication skills commensurate with their developmental ages— so that they have the greatest opportunity for life success.

This document reflects the process and lessons learned during the first phase of the Pathways work—identifying shared, whole-child Measures of Success that put children on a pathway to grade-level reading. The measures were developed by a Data Action Team—comprising 30 experts from North Carolina’s leading universities, research institutes, government agencies, businesses and think tanks—in partnership with a larger group of Pathways stakeholders. The Data Action Team met monthly between January 2016 and April 2016. Information on the Pathways initiative is available on NCECF’s website at:

About NCECF: The North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation is driven by a bold vision: Each North Carolina child has a strong foundation for lifelong health, education and well-being, supported by a premiere birth-to-age-eight system. We promote understanding, spearhead collaboration, and advance policies to ensure each North Carolina child is on track for lifelong success by the end of third grade. More information about NCECF is available at

About Impact Thread: Impact Thread puts the competitive advantage in social good. With a background in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, we provide insight into organizational and workforce development. We use applied analytics, psychological theory, and practitioner research to aid organizations in metrics and evaluation, recruitment, retention, and workforce intervention. We bring a statistically validated human understanding that enhances an organization’s competitive advantage. More information about Impact Thread is available at