Promoting Quality Through Leadership and Partnerships
From the early 1970s to the early 1990s, CQL published standards for organizations. Other accrediting organizations published, and continue to publish, standards for many different types of programs. In 1993, however, CQL became the first national accreditation and quality improvement organization to measure quality as responsiveness to the individual rather than compliance with program standards and organizational process. In doing so, CQL recognized that the promotion of quality of life for people requires a vision beyond the boundaries of the organization.
In the past, the institution, the group home, or the day program served as the place and focus for service delivery – and we worked hard to improve the quality of those services. But, today, the attention to quality of life requires that we look beyond our own services and supports and ask how we can leverage community resources for people. Quality of life requires the coordination of provider supports and services with those of families, friends, local governments, civic associations, and faith-based organizations. Quality of life requires an increase in the connections, networks, and circles of support for people. Measuring quality of life moves the focus from the organization to the individual and his or her level of interdependence with other formal and informal support and service providers.
This results in two conclusions:
- Organizations need to share knowledge, cooperate, and work in partnerships
- Successful cooperation and partnerships require shared leadership
Organizations increase their partnership roles by playing a strong leadership role in some instances, while supporting others in leadership roles in other instances. The common theme is linking a vision of improved quality of life for people with disabilities through shared leadership in coalition partnerships.