Collective Impact for Coalitions

Much of my work involves helping organizations identify, enroll and lead coalitions – groups of organizations working together to tackle a systemic problem. One way that leading a coalition is different from leading a team is that you cannot use traditional incentives (eg, remuneration, evaluation, promotions, etc) to shape behavior. A Common Agenda is what propels a successful coalition. The Common Agenda is the vision of the future that all coalition participants are invested in. It is what motivates them to collaborate, performing interlocking activities that create synergy and results.

The Common Agenda is an element of one of my favorite models, Collective Impact. It relies on a backbone organization led by a steering committee, establishing governance, vision, and strategy.

In the video above, I share a real-life example of how the American Nurses Association (ANA) uses the collective impact model and common agenda in their Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation Grand Challenge. Using the common agenda of measurably improving the health of America’s four million nurses and by extension the rest of the nation, the ANA pulled together a variety of world-class partners to work together.

The Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation initiative has been incredibly successful uniting 200 champion organizations committed to providing boots on the ground, collecting and sharing data and over 300 collaborators and connectors (organizations deeply involved in our success), and over 60k individual community members.

To learn more about how a common agenda pulls together the many forces and organizations needed to mount and achieve a systemic objective, email me at

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