EBDM Starter Kit

3e: Prioritizing Your Team’s Targets for Change

Navigating the Roadmap

Activity 3: Understand current practice within each agency and across the system.


Considering the information collected through various policy and practice analyses is no easy feat. It is more than likely that your analyses will surface a variety of possible areas of improvement. This may present the team with some tough choices regarding its highest priorities for action. This document outlines a process your team might use for culling through the information collected through your policy and practice analyses and selecting your priority change targets.

Reporting to the Policy Team: Work Group Findings

During their strategic action planning session during, Grant County, Indiana’s work groups were asked to report out on

  • their top 3–5 action items/change strategies for improving risk reduction outcomes;
  • the evidence-based research that supports the action/change and other supporting reasons for the proposal;
  • a brief analysis of the pros and cons of each action item;
  • action items/change strategies that were considered and then “taken off the table,” and why.


To agree, as a team, on the most significant opportunities to advance policy and practice to achieve the jurisdiction’s harm and risk reduction goals


All policy team members should be present and actively involved in considering work groups’/outside experts’ findings from the policy and practice assessments.


  1. Plan a day-long strategic planning session (or a series of meetings) to conduct this work.1
  2. In advance of the meeting, ask policy team members to review the findings from work groups/outside experts regarding the extent to which policies, practices, and key decisions are supported/informed by research.
  3. At the beginning of the meeting, take a moment to agree as a team how decisions will be made for selecting the change strategies on which the team will move forward.
    1. Decide on the extent of agreement needed to make a decision. Will decisions be made by majority vote or through consensus? What does consensus mean? It may be unrealistic to assume that every team member will completely agree on the top change targets to pursue. One strategy for making decisions is for team members to agree to make an honest effort to understand what is being proposed and to determine whether each member “can live with it and support it.”
    2. Set criteria to determine which change targets will be prioritized. Some factors to consider may include: What is the potential impact of this change on risk and harm reduction? Do we agree the research support is strong enough to consider this change? Do we think this strategy is realistic, given what we know about our current system’s challenges?
  4. Once the team is clear on the way it will make decisions, work groups should report on their recommendations, on the level of research behind each recommendation, and on how the recommendations came about.
  5. For each work group recommendation or change strategy, consider it against the selection criteria and discuss whether team members agree that the change strategy is a priority. This may be accomplished through group discussion and/or ranking, scoring, or voting methods.
  6. If the team has already discussed its harm reduction goals, it will be necessary to consider these goals as part of the decision-making process for selecting change targets. (If the team has not yet determined its final harm reduction goals, it should do so as part of its efforts to establish performance measures and outcomes, and to develop a systemwide scorecard.2)
  7. Once a set of change targets is formed, revisit them as a package and determine if anything is missing or if strategies need to be further developed. The team may decide that it wants the work groups that developed the recommendations to create more detailed descriptions of the scope of work and action steps to implement the proposed changes.3

1 Consider the use of an outside facilitator to ensure that the meeting is as productive as possible.

2 See 6a: Measuring Your Performance and 6b: Developing a Systemwide Scorecard.

3 This activity may naturally lead to work on system- and/or case-level logic models. See 5a: Building Logic Models.


Grant County, Indiana, Strategic Planning Session Goals and Agenda

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, EBDM Proposal Scoring Tool

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