Why worry about collaboration?

Ruth StudleyOur guest blogger, Ruth Studley, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, explains the importance of collaboration. 

You may ask why should we worry about collaboration? In the current times of wanting to increase our impact with often reducing resources, collaboration is vital.

We all need to know what we are doing and why. We need to know how our personal role fits into that of our organisation goals.

In the public sector we need to go a step further and consider how our personal and organisational roles fit into the broader goal of wanting to create a positive impact on the population. We can do this on our own but we have a greater impact if we do this with others. Do you agree?

Why don’t we collaborate more – do we all understand what collaboration means?

The Oxford University Press states that collaboration is ‘the action of working with someone to produce something‘.

I believe effective collaboration is more than this. It is more than a joint goal with agreed milestones and deliverables. It is enhanced by trust and respect, openness, honesty and transparency about conflicting views and opinions, working through difficult problems to achieve a consensus, an aims that suits everyone.

 How do we collaborate more – have you considered what collaboration looks like in your environment?

Collaboration is the driving force behind Inspection Wales. But what does that mean? How does it feel?

From a personal perspective, it is about trust, mutual respect, openness, honesty and reliability. Interestingly, this can be summarised mathematically:


Lets first consider those aspects of trust that have a positive impact on collaboration.

Credibility – Do you say what you know and is it right?
Reliability – Do you do what you said you were going to do?
Intimacy – Do you know your colleagues, staff, managers? Do you you value them and inspire them? Do your respect their values?

Like any mathematician, I know the power of the denominator! The reciprocal has the ability to undermine the numerator. Here it can do immense damage to the trust and rapport we build. In this example, we need to be aware of the trait of the self interest.

Are you making decisions or behaving in a particular way for your own benefit without consideration of the impact on others? Is it all about your brand? Your goal?

Inspection Wales is based on many of these principles. For example, the recent publication of the information sharing principles places a huge amount of trust in other organisations to use that intelligence appropriately and keep it safe. In many areas we identify our joint or overlapping goals and focus on delivering these together to achieve better outcomes for people.

Indeed, we could use the power of the reciprocal here and say – why would you not collaborate? Resistance rather than trust can develop by focussing on our self interests and those of our own organisations, but these will eventually be broken down by those who are credible and reliable and open and want to work together to achieve greater outcomes.

I’ll end with a quote from Helen Keller:

“Alone we do so little; together we can do so much”

 Ruth Studley is the Director of Strategy and Development at Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) Before joining HIW Ruth was the Head of Health Statistics at StatsWale

2 thoughts on “Why worry about collaboration?

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