The health needs of the population are changing, and many people need more co-ordinated care across primary, community, social and hospital services. More co-ordinated care requires organisations and staff to collaborate well across organisational and professional boundaries.
- Creating a safe, inclusive and trusting environment in which everyone can contribute fully – leaders need to look at problems from perspectives beyond their own. This means leaders need to be open and trusting, to connect with others and create different spaces in which people feel safe to contribute and be heard; to listen to and value others’ contributions and ensure others do the same.
- Building healthy relationships – this requires sustained effort but adopting a more relational way of working based on humility, respect and trust strengthens connections between organisations and individuals leading to increased staff engagement and more co-ordinated services.
- Developing a shared purpose and shared group identity. It is important to clearly set out the shared purpose around why organisations or/and professional groups are working together and create a shared group identity to promote engagement across the collaboration and to address any power differentials
- Actively managing any power dynamics – so no organisation or professional group dominates. Introducing processes that create a more open and participatory environment can also be useful to enable individuals to think differently.
- Surfacing and managing any conflict – in collaborations you are working with different views and ideas, sometimes these will turn into conflict. It is important to approach any conflict with an open and curious mind, rather than turning away from it.
- Developing shared decision-making processes – designing transparent processes that enable all key organisations or groups to contribute to a decision produces a range of benefits, although it takes longer. Benefits include greater ownership over the decisions adopted and strengthening trust across a collaborating group.