What’s the Secret Sauce to Interprofessional Collaboration?

You grow exponentially as a leader when you increase your ability to share knowledge that is timely and relevant across professions.  Avoiding interprofessional collaboration keeps you living in a bubble where you have solutions that fit you but perhaps no one else.

When you develop interprofessional collaboration, it moves you to respond to the question: “Does my solutions fit those who are different from me, yet equally impacted by the concern that is the topic of dialogue?”    

It matters who is at the table if you want to see outcomes where the common good is created, where curiosity is amplified, perspectives shift and critical thinking gains momentum.  Who you collaborate with influences your outcomes! 

Before sharing the secret sauce to interprofessional collaboration, let me highlight 4 reasons interprofessional collaboration matters as a soft skill.


Creates Common Good

When you collaborate with those you would not normally connect with, a natural outcome is that a larger body of people is served. 

Amplifies Curiosity

Albert Einstein is credited as saying, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence.” The second reason that Interprofessional Collaboration matters is that it amplifies curiosity and gives it space to stand.  When professionals with different skill sets and perspectives collaborate, raising questions and learning from one another, leads to greater outcomes in finding solutions.

Change in Perspective

The pursuit of interprofessional collaboration can yield opportunities for a change in our perspectives.  Interprofessional thinking allows for new connections between the strengths of the various disciplines represented.  Newly integrated thoughts and ideas inspire generative dialogue bringing a more comprehensive solution to the table. 

Increases Critical Thinking

When working collaboratively with leaders across different professions, there’s no doubt that you’re trying to solve complex issues. Answers will not come easy. The challenge of finding solutions will increase your problem-solving skills. Frequent communication, accurate communication, shared goals, and mutual respect all influence critical thinking.


Interprofessional collaboration is a worthy soft skill to develop. However, interprofessional collaboration won’t just happen, you must develop your soft skills.

To increase interprofessional teamwork as a part of your leadership strategy, remember these four ingredients that make up the secret sauce of interprofessional collaboration.

  1. Determine shared values.

One ingredient in the secret sauce of interprofessional collaboration is that it begins with shared values. Don’t be too anxious in starting to get the actual work done to set out for the group before spending time on values identification.  All who come to the table should agree to embrace the same values.

When forming a proposal for interprofessional collaboration, affirming shared values is critical and is often overlooked.  Identifying values that all in the group share will become a part of your team’s fundamental and distinctive characteristics. These aligned values are what will hold you steady as your group develops. Shared values are critical for grounding the culture of your team.

  1. Be intentional in honoring each other.

The second ingredient to the secret sauce of interprofessional collaboration must be intentionality surrounding respect and honor for those on the team. You’ll have differences of opinion with those in the group. Your thought processes are different, and this could lead to tension.

To be intentional in honoring you're those you collaborate with, remember to:

  • Pursue common ground
  • Come ready to learn
  • Show appreciation
  • Celebrate other’s success
  • Challenge your own assumptions
  • Be patient
  • Remain curious
  • Be gracious.
  • Listen
  • Open your eyes, your mind, and your heart


  1. Make the experience enjoyable!

You won’t be wasting your time coming up with any ideas to enhance the experience because you will also enhance the collaboration. When everyone is relaxed and celebrating the different roles, different backgrounds, and different perspectives around the table you are open to a deeper level of collaboration. 

If possible, perhaps include snacks as well as a time for people to get to know each other. Small exercises as an ice breaker help get the collaborative creative juices flowing.

  1. Prepare the discussion.

The final ingredient to the secret sauce of interprofessional collaboration is to prepare the discussion to naturally include words that indicate teamwork and collaboration. This is of primary importance. Including a diverse pool of knowledge sets the stage for tackling large and complex problems.

Using words that affirm your desired outcome matter.  Examples:

“Thank you for coming together at this table”

“There is a synergy that is evident in the room”

“What question do you have to lead us to deeper collaboration?”

“How will curiosity make a difference in the work we do together?”       


Learning how to implement interprofessional collaboration is not easy. As a leadership strategist, I consult and coach experienced leaders who understand that developing as a leader lacks momentum without personal growth and soft skill development. The struggle in the marketplace is real as leaders today seek to learn the changes needed to grow and retain their employees. To discuss this further, set up a call with me at http://www.healthyleaderhip.online


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