Collaboration 2.0 – Leading with Intention

Congratulations to Vein Magazine and the AVLS on their new collaboration! The coming together of people, organizations or entities usually begins with such a sense of excitement, as we consider the possibilities the collaboration might create. What will the new venture look like? How might Vein Magazine and AVLS, together, serve the venous community in ways they couldn’t independently? The future of this collaboration is truly exciting.

This partnership mirrors the direction of greater teamwork that healthcare has been moving in for a while, as I discussed in the Spring Issue of Vein Magazine. From the frequent use of multi-disciplinary teams to integrating mid-level providers in our offices, we now practice medicine cooperatively. This enhances patient care, but also introduces additional sources of conflict and errors. Healthy interpersonal skills such as good listening, emotional intelligence, the setting of and maintenance of good boundaries, and direct, respectful communication are essential if we want to elevate the effectiveness of teams. Yet, there is another consideration that can have an enormous effect on the success of any collaboration.

Intentionality is a skill that can positively influence our lives, yet one we don’t use often enough. As Yogi Berra once commented, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Being intentional about our actions can save a great deal of time, frustration, disappointment and pain in our lives. We can use this at the outset of any activity – or even at the start of each day – by asking ourselves, what do I really want to get out of this? Intentionality is even more important when we begin a new venture, which we often start without even considering what we really want it to become. Much is left unsaid, with each person believing the other thinks like them, shares their goals, and obeys the same rules. So how might we consider a potential collaboration – first, to decide whether we want to move forward, and then to increase its chance of success?

In the case of any association, it’s wise to ask ourselves a few questions:

  • What is our mission and vision: what are we here to do, and why is that important?
  • What do I want to contribute to this venture? How do I think it will be useful? How can I make it even more useful than that?
  • What do I value about the other people/entities involved? Will they simply complement what I bring, or do I also want to learn them?
  • What can we do together that we cannot do alone and how can we best do that?
  • Who else might we want to involve?

While this is not an exhaustive list of questions, it’s a good start to a conversation that may determine the success of any new venture, as well as the satisfaction of everyone involved. Given the time, effort, care and financial resources we put into the work we do, taking time to set and share our intentions is a very wise investment, indeed.