Let’s pause to think about what it means to work together. We all do it almost every day and I’d venture a guess that we all have experienced varying levels of quality in these collaborations. To formalize it a bit, let’s think of authentic collaboration. Here’s a personal story that I have just experienced that will help frame our discussion.
I’ve just wrapped up a summer of collaboration with my swim team board. One thing that stood out to me was the effort it took to make collaboration the tool we actually used vs choosing the “easy” way out of letting one or two people make all the decisions. Often some might feel that for the sake of speed and efficiency, one or two leaders can be effective at running things “on the ground” as we might say. This is not only detrimental to desired outcomes but flies in the face of a thoughtful comparison and analysis of these situations. I saw first-hand how once we really dug in and pulled everyone together to collaborate, so many wonderful things happened! This is just one small example of the power of people working together in an authentic way.
I found this extensive definition by Capacity Builders of Toronto that’s worth a quick read:
A well-defined relationship entered into by two or more different partners (e.g. individuals, organizations, networks) coming together from various sectors, groups and/or communities to achieve common goals. They are characterized by a commitment to building, nurturing and maintaining mutually beneficial relationships; joint responsibility and accountability for success; and the sharing of resources and rewards.
Wow, that’s detailed! I would add that “well-defined” is often in the eye of the beholder and less-officially-defined collaborations are still relevant for the purpose of this discussion. What really jumps out to me is:
- Commitment to building
- Nurturing relationships
- Common goals
- Joint responsibility
- Sharing of resources and rewards
Do we all work toward these key aspects in our everyday connections/collaborations? Collaboration can be as simple as two friends swapping babysitting duties as needed or as complex as several healthcare organizations working jointly to create a translational research center.
With so much time spent interacting online, many of us see the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to collaboration – both very formal and more informal.
The process of authentic collaboration applies most aptly to our patient-provider relationships as well. Ask yourself, do the five bullet points above match your key healthcare relationships? As a patient? A provider? As you can quickly see, any of these that are missing creates the type of relationship dynamic that isn’t ideal.
This week, I want to move beyond communication to think about working together. All of the myriad ways we come together and share, build, explore – ranging from a follow-up appointment with your clinician to the oncologist working with their research staff on a current trial. No matter what you’re sharing, it matters to understand how and why we collaborate – such as the online social media connection that keeps healthcare vibrant or the team building a mental health solution for at-risk youth.
This week on #hcldr, let’s talk about why and how we work together and what that means for healthcare.
Join the #hcldr community of professionals, patients, clinicians, administrators, lurkers, counselors, social workers, designers, and advocates! Please join us on Tuesday, July 4, 2019 at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:
- T1: What does authentic collaboration mean to you? Do you pursue it?
- T2: In settings with greater power distances, does this impact authentic collaboration? How can we break down this barrier?
- T3: How do social media and tech create more authentic collaboration vs. just more connections?
- T4: When faced with imbalanced collaboration, how do you fix it? How much is too much? Examples?