Recently, I came across this quote “Entrepreneurs have a natural inclination to go it alone. While this do-it-yourself spirit can help you move forward, adding an element of collaboration into the mix can make you unstoppable” by Leah Busque. This reminded me of the way several of us dietitians work. Several of us work in silos. In the several years of my dietetic practice I have certainly come to realize that working this way is definitely not the way to success. Today, we live in a day and age of collaborations. I had been working all by myself for the longest time. Last year I collaborated with several healthcare professionals (HCPs) and created an online summit titled “Curb Your Cravings”. It was very well received by clients and the collaborators appreciated and really cherished the opportunity. And the best part I did not have to do all the work. It was the combined work of 25 professionals that made the summit a success. I am also in the process of ongoing collaborations with relevant HCPs for my bi-monthly show called “One Week to Your Health” on You Tube.  

Hence, writing this blog post with the hope that several of you reading this post will consider collaborating not only with fellow dietitians but other relevant HCPs as well.   

In this blog post I am sharing my 10 top reasons dietitians MUST & NEED to collaborate. In my next blog post I will share the process that I took to create collaborative relationships. 

So, let us start:   

  1. Enhance the profile of dietitians in the public eye: I am quite sure many of you have heard people undermining the work that we do. And that includes HCPs. We also know that there are so many people who like to give advice on nutrition without a complete understanding of the interactions of nutrients and the impact on the body. There is also a constant war (as I like to call it) between the RDs & nutritionists. When we will begin to collaborate with other HCPs, it will break several myths about the work we do and our scope of practice. Educating the people and other HCPs about our scope of work is the ideal way in my mind to enhance our profile.  2.
  2. Build and grow our network: If you wish to scale your business, then the answer is Collaborations.  When we meet someone, and just start talking, you never know what direction that conversation may lead to. Let me give you an example: when I was working on the “Curb Your Cravings Summit” I connected with a dietitian and during our conversation she asked if I would like to have a physician on board. Of course, my answer was Yes, and guess what the physician then connected me a reiki professional and a transformational hypnotist. This kind of variety made the summit content rich. I could certainly not have done all this by myself.  Collaborations either start in a serendipitous manner by meeting someone new or through a conversation with someone familiar you know. If the person is entirely new, then you have just increased your network and if it is someone you already knew, then perhaps you strengthened your relationship and also seen another side of the person that you may have been unaware. So, in short it is win-win situation either way.  
  3. You can accomplish way more with collaborations:  Two brains are more productive and resourceful than one. Right?  Of course, you need to plan your work, assign responsibilities and be clear about each other’s accountability. If done right you can accomplish way more than working solo on a project.    
  4. Substantially decrease completion time:   The same principle as above applies here as well. Four hands can accomplish more than two, and that too way faster. You can get more done, and perhaps your stress level of completing everything all by yourself decreases considerably. Often times, we do think that it is better if we do everything ourselves because you will have to explain everything to the other person. In the real world, it actually will take less time to explain the project deliverables, than do everything yourself. Of course, you need to keep a close watch so the objectives of your project are met with. In the long run it will pay off. So, do give collaborations a try!                                                                                            
  5. Enforces accountability:   It is very easy to slip on accountability towards yourself. You have to be a highly motivated person to work through deadlines, with you being your own boss. When you have an accountability collaborator, it may be a different story altogether. If you are not motivated on a particular day to work on the project, your collaborating partner might come to your rescue.  That way you keep bouncing of each other and create magic! 
  6. Find more creative solutions to problems:  When we are stuck with a particular problem, we are kind of confined in our own thought process. That makes it hard and sometimes impossible to think beyond our boxed brain. With a collaborator, innovative and fresh solutions can be found. When we partner/collaborate with another person, who comes with different experiences and approaches in handling problems, there is a huge possibility that the scenario might change. We all know that entrepreneurship is all about finding creative solutions to people’s problems. So, do not hesitate to take the first step forward in collaborating with like-minded people.
  7. Allowance for flexibility: Life happens and a situation can sneak in from under the door. When you have a collaborator and are working on a project you can breathe. Your partner can takeover over the tasks without getting the project to a halt. More over if there are deadlines having someone else to lean on is such a relief. This also allows for you to go on a vacation or visit family if needed.
  8. Gets you out of your comfort zone: To me the best way to increase your skills and learn is to get a little uncomfortable. When you put yourself in a new situation, you got to be successful for yourself. A collaborator can be very instrumental here. When we work all by our self the natural tendency is to circle around tried and tested strategies. However, your collaborator might have some new ideas that you have never even thought off. A great strategy to load your tool box.  
  9. Make entrepreneurship fun: Productivity and fun are 2 related elements for success. If you have fun in your work, it is also motivating and keeps you going faster. Moreover, entrepreneurship can be lonely and frustrating at times. With a collaborator it becomes easier to inject some fun and also allows for another set of ears to bounce your ideas, challenges and frustrations. I find this to be a huge factor in collaborating with others.
  10. Everyone wins: When I say everyone, I am referring to you, your collaborator and clients. The College of Dietitians of Ontario defines “Collaborative practice as members going beyond just working in a team to synergistically learning to practice together as a team to influence the client/patient centered care. “It involves the continuous interaction of two or more professionals or disciplines, organized into a common effort to explore and solve common issues, with the best possible participation of the client”.  

 To me collaboration is a habit that all of us dietitians must get into. A habit that can reap great results. The College of           Dietitians of Ontario has an article on “Enhancing Inter-professional Collaboration” that I would encourage you to read. You can read it here:   

https://www.collegeofdietitians.org/Resources/Interprofessional-Collaboration/Interprofessional-Care/Enhancing-Capacity-for-IPC-ENG.aspx 

Lastly, something to remember is that collaboration is not about making friends or even liking each one of your collaborator. It is all about providing the best possible care or service to your client.  

I will also take this opportunity to out a call for collaborating with me for my You tube show “One Week to Your Health” where I am focusing on sharing small weekly changes that people can integrate into their lives for the better. You can book an interview here:  http://www.alkachopra.ca/be-a-guest/  

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