10 Lessons For Collaboration: Deborah Gardiner

Lesson #1: Know thyself. Many realities exist simultaneously. Each person's reality is based on self-developed perceptions. Requisite to trusting self and others is in knowing your own mental model (biases, values, and goals).

Lesson #2: Learn to value and manage diversity. Differences are essential assets for effective collaborative processes and outcomes.

Lesson #3: Develop constructive conflict resolution skills. In the collaborative paradigm, conflict is viewed as natural and as an opportunity to deepen understanding and agreement.

Lesson # 4: Use your power to create win-win situations The sharing of power and the recognition of one's own power base is part of effective collaboration.

Lesson #5: Master interpersonal and process skills. Clinical competence, cooperation, and flexibility are the most frequently identified attributes important to effective collaborative practice.

Lesson #6: Recognize that collaboration is a journey. The skill and knowledge needed for effective collaboration take time and practice. Conflict resolution, clinical excellence, appreciative inquiry, and knowledge of group process are all life-long learning skills.

Lesson #7: Leverage all multidisciplinary forums. Being present both physically and mentally in team forums can provide an opportunity to assess how and when to offer collaborative communications for partnership building.

Lesson #8: Appreciate that collaboration can occur spontaneously. Collaboration is a mutually established condition that can happen spontaneously if the right factors are in place.

Lesson #9: Balance autonomy and unity in collaborative relationships. Learn from your collaborative successes and failures. Becoming part of an exclusive team can be as bad as working in isolation. Be willing to seek feedback and admit mistakes. Be reflective, willing to seek feedback, and admit mistakes for dynamic balance.

Lesson #10: Remember that collaboration is not required for all decisions. Collaboration is not a panacea, nor is it needed in all situations

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