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What difficulties do agency clients have coping with the particular needs, problems, and vulnerabilities in their lives?

We next want to understand whatever difficulties agency clients experience coping with the range of needs, problems, and vulnerabilities they experience in their day-to-day lives. It is tempting to assume we already know what the life-issues are for agency clients. Although this may be mostly true, it is at least partially not true. Before we proceed, we need a higher level of certainty our understanding is actually a good fit with agency clients’ realities.

The first step is to consider what we think clients and potential clients experience in their day-to-day lives. What difficulties do they have handling the needs, problems, and vulnerabilities with which they have to cope? Our goal is to develop one or more profiles describing clients’ experiences from our point of view. Limit this to a few profiles generally illustrative of people who either are or may become agency clients, showing them in their real lives, experiencing the range of difficulties they actually experience.

After we develop the client profiles, the profiles are validated. The strategy for doing this is similar to that used for determining who agency clients should be. Start with 0-A leadership connections with Potential Clients. Share the client profiles with the Potential Clients and ask them to assess the completeness and accuracy of the profiles. Our task is to adjust the profiles to achieve a best fit with the potential clients and their situations.

From the validated profiles, identify those particular difficulties and issues with which the agency expects to help. Those difficulties and issues are the intervention focus. Next, share this intervention focus with the Initiators and other stakeholders accessible through connections from point “0” in the Helping Triangle. Make any resulting adjustments to the intervention focus and, in turn, discuss the adjusted intervention focus with the Authorizers. The goal is to verify there is continuing auspices and authorization for providing help with the specific problems and issues reflected in the intervention focus.

This step creates both the intended outcome – the intervention focus – and unintended outcomes – stakeholder dissonance. Some stakeholders are unhappy about our choice of issues and concerns for inclusion in the intervention focus. They believe we have omitted important issues in people’s lives and have included issues they – the stakeholders – think should have lower priority. They think we are not doing what they believe should be done. Although carefully managing this dissonance can minimize its negative effect, it is a continuing feature of the agency eco system. We also see stakeholder dissonance accumulates as we proceed through the process of developing the agency eco system.

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