Recently we completed the monitoring recommendations implementation stage for the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University legal clinic, and we fulfilled 100% of the Plan! This was not hindered even by the need to reformat most of the planned activities and the short time for achieving the goals.
This case of implementation practically confirmed the effectiveness of the monitoring model upgrade to “version 2.0” – that is, the continuation of monitoring in the format of clear short-term planning and implementation of tasks to implement certain recommendations.
We are convinced that with sufficient interaction and interest of the parties, the desired development turns into a sequence of concrete realistic steps and an effective result.
Looking back for a month and a half, from the position of the monitoring group coordinator and expert on the implementation of recommendations, I can see very specific factors that ensured the maximum result. This post is primarily about mentoring, trust and courage.
*An implementation expert is a person who assists a legal clinic in the process of planning specific steps to implement monitoring recommendations. As a rule – implementation lasts 2-3 months, in our case the term was a little shorter and lasted 45 days.
So – How?
Factor 1. Immediate follow-up
Prior to this monitoring, each visit ended – often excellently, but only with presentations of the results of the visit itself. Experts talked about weaknesses and strengths, explained – what was right, what was wrong. Representatives of the administration and partners agreed or disagreed, smiled or not, agreed that something should be done next and… feeling happy or not went away about their own business.
So, what has happened in Frankivsk? At the initiative of the monitoring group members, we immediately announced a strategy session with partners as the second block of the presentation – and it brought an instant results. We not only talked about the importance of increasing activity, not only agreed that the legal clinic and other stakeholders should cooperate – but noted specific activities, at specific intervals with well-defined partners.
This is how the desired turned into planned.
An important clarification should be made here. Of course, not all 100% of the planned will be realized – and they should not. Such strategizing is the first step to form a vision and ways of cooperation, search for intersections of different partners, differentiation of target groups and communication channels and formats of work with them. But this step is crucial.
Factor 2. Action Plan through the Old Good SMART Filter
No matter how banal it may seem, a good implementation plan is one that, as a whole, corresponds to the SMART goal setting model, as well as every goal and task in it does. When you know the time limit, have already understood the specifics of the legal clinic and its relationship in the institution, have a certain idea of the administrative processes – and all this must be investigated before / during monitoring – you already have a framework for your plan. The identified gaps in the work suggest that some of them, given the framework picture – can be implemented.
At this stage, the decisive factor is the set of circumstances:
- active involvement of the implementation expert, who – due to his/her own experience – can suggest ways of implementation;
- trust in the coordinator on the part of the legal clinic staff and readiness to assess the realism of the plan from the standpoint of internal administrative processes and own resources (technical, material, human, level of professionalism in one direction or another, etc.);
- “Green light” from the administration. It is likely to be activated quickly given that the administration is conscious of the legal clinic development importance.
After all – you can only achieve the goals you can achieve.
Factor 3. Smart and smarter
Here it’s not about goals, but about creativity. When drawing up the Implementation Plan – a) do not include issues (tasks) that are not directly dependent on the actual executors (for example – decision-making at the level of the administration, or the academic council, or – even the department; or – purchase of new equipment or allocation of premises). In this case, there will always be a risk of default due to lack of authority and leverage to make management decisions; b) include into plan what can be held within the parallel activities of the legal clinic (including cooperation with stakeholders). It may turn out that a few or many already planned activities will directly contribute to the achievement of the goals set in the plan.
Look wider, think more flexibly.
Factor 4. You have to love “your” legal clinic
This advice is for the implementation expert only.
Apparently, it also looks strange, but its practical benefits are proven. I am convinced that a positive attitude and faith in the team you work with act as a concentrated catalyst for finding quick and correct solutions. And yet, it helps to keep a very important balance of the expert and / but “equal”. You know, there are such famous memes about the boss and the leader?
– so, this is exactly what is meant. You can, of course, “switch on” authority and “set tasks”, but you can gently push in the right direction and be a part of the process.
Therefore, the constant connection of the implementation expert with “his/her” legal clinic, participation in the planned activities, where appropriate, is necessary.
Factor 5. Challenges – as a fitting room for new formats
Changing circumstances is not a reason to abandon the idea. Fear is overcome by competitiveness, and challenges are seen as opportunities. And the more multifaceted such opportunities are realized, the more satisfaction the team gets not only from the result, but also from the process itself.
At certain stages you need to motivate and activate yourself. And constantly search, select, adapt. When the “somnambulism mode” started with the beginning of quarantine, we came up with an internal motto – #quarantine_not_vacation and every time, as we wanted to say – yes, well, we have already done a lot, well – it will not be 100% – but that’s fine, well we won’t hold this event or two ”- curiosity and courage against the new won.
So the new reality allows you to “try on” new formats, experiment, explore and – ultimately – develop.
Success loves the brave.
This is a subjective view, of course. For some, it may not work or work in its own way. But it is indisputable that true development comes from the ability to realize the “starting point” and the “point of desired achievement”, the sincere desire to get there and complete trust on the way to the goal.
an expert on the implementation of monitoring recommendations of the Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University legal clinic
The Project “Development of Regional Leaders and the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine Coordination Model Enforcement ” is being implemented by the Association of Legal Clinics of Ukraine with the financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.