Tool 2: How to Determine Initial Roles, Responsibilities, and the Team Vision
The purpose of Tool 2 is to support team leaders and members in understanding their roles and responsibilities on interagency transition teams as initial meetings begin. Since roles and responsibilities are often decided as the vision and/or mission of the team becomes clearer, these two early stages of interagency transition planning are offered together in this Tool.
A. Creating a Vision and Mission Statement
Why/How do we create a vision and mission statement?
Agencies and individuals joining an interagency transition team will enter the process with their own agency mission or personal vision in mind. For agencies, these may not be congruent, as agencies often have different missions. State interagency transition teams often start with a broad mission attuned to the goals of transition in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997. However, each state has the opportunity to refine this vision to meet its own unique needs. One of the first responsibilities of any team is to discuss, formulate, implement, and instill a method for evaluating its vision and mission statement(s).
The best way to create a team vision and mission statement in which the entire team will be invested and will want to succeed is to be sure all stakeholders are involved. This may cause the process to be much longer than the sample activity given below, but it will be worth the effort when the entire team is motivated to pursue a cohesive vision.
The team vision needs to be expressed as clearly as possible so that everyone on the team feels comfortable with it. This cannot be overemphasized because the vision will determine the interagency team’s organizational goals, partnerships, and the strategies it develops to meet objectives. In addition, a strong, concise mission statement will help outsiders understand the purpose of the interagency team and may offer compelling reasons for them to get involved.
Sample activities to create a vision or mission statement
Team members may find this exercise useful to focus and sensitize themselves to the importance of a topic at any meeting:
B. Deciding the Roles and Responsibilities of the Team Leader and Each Member
What are team leaders’ and team members’ responsibilities?
Clearly, most state-level interagency transition teams will have as their leader the state transition coordinator. In some states, it may not be possible for these individuals to delegate some of their power. In this case, initial roles and responsibilities will simply be assigned by the team leader. However, this may change over time, and leaders should remember that the ideal team is more democratic than hierarchical in its functioning. For this reason, recommendations for practices and activities are given below.
As a team, the shared responsibilities of all members are to:
Team responsibilities for efficient organization can include decisions about:
Team responsibilities for solving issues and guiding the implementation of transition services include:
How do team members learn their roles?
Organizers of teams sometimes make the mistake of assuming team members automatically understand their roles and responsibilities. This is usually not the case. Two sample worksheets, “Team Member Roles and Responsibilities” and “Team Member Checklist,” are offered at the end of this section and are designed to help team members learn about their roles.
Applying the Principles of Teaming to Tool 2
How to Apply Principle 1: Reflecting a Shared Vision
Before conducting the activities in this Tool, team leaders should review the first Principle as a guide to good teaming practices. While this Principle is inherent in the activities provided above, revisiting why such activities are recommended may help you assure your team of the relevance of what you are doing, and lead ultimately to the team’s achieving better process and performance outcomes.
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Citation: Stodden, R. A., Brown, S. E., Galloway, L. M., Mrazek, S., & Noy, L. (2004). Essential tools: Interagency transition team development and facilitation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration, National Center on Secondary Education and Transition.
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This document was published by the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET). NCSET is supported through a cooperative agreement #H326J000005 with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the U.S. Department of Education Programs, and no official endorsement should be inferred. The University of Minnesota, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Center on Secondary Education and Transition are equal opportunity employers and educators.