Collaborative Group Interventions
Group Decision-making: to Merge or Not

A community chorus, in existence for six years, is increasingly successful in its niche market. A larger organization is offering to take the chorus over, and chorus members are unsure whether to merge or try to make it on their own.

Resources for Change suggests to the executive committee that it gather chorus members, key members of the larger association, and community allies (the groups important to the future success of the chorus and who have a stake in that success). The committee is delighted to have a "trial balloon" process that will give members a clearer picture of their current status in the community and help them assess the potential for growth.

The committee members come up with a long list of invitees to a 2-1/2 day event, planned by committee members. The invitees include media entertainment critics, music directors, area assembly representatives, arts groups, national choral associations, business representatives, and others.

To the surprise of the planners, they gain the participation of nearly 100% of their identified external stakeholders. The turnout is exciting and offers time for both work and constructive engagement. Collaborations are forged, and many interests are served as members of the larger community gather to think through the impact of the arts group. Issues surface that are of surprising significance to the stakeholders. The information allows the chorus to make a decision on merging or not.

The "ripples" of such events are testament to the richness of conversation that occurs when the right people are invited to collaborate in planning and strategy sessions.

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