6 Mantras of Cross-Team Collaboration

Medical, Behavior, & Operations working together—yassss! You can see it in action at the 7 centers run by County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care & Control, thanks to a cohesive program and inclusive decision-making process created by Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Maria Solacito, and Allie Waszmer, CTC, CDBC, Behavior Division Manager. The pair recently shared the six important principles of their program at The Spring Conference for Animal Welfare, as part of their session, “Treating the Whole Animal: A Medical and Behavior Collaboration.” And P.S., these key concepts apply to any collaboration you may be a part of.

#1. Collaboration is an on-going process

“There will always be difficult days, and mistakes can happen,” says Dr. Solacito. “But if the intent to collaborate and work together is there, teams will be able to push through and have a more cohesive working environment—in order to have good outcomes for the animals, and good outcomes for staff.”

#2. Remember that you share the same goal, even if perspectives and methods are different

States Waszmer, “All perspectives are important. Each team is coming to the table to represent a different piece of the puzzle for all of the pets in care. Collectively, each perspective builds that whole picture.”

#3. Communication works for those who work at it

“This is difficult, but it needs to happen,” urges Dr. Solacito. “Writing things down is good—it’s really important as it shows people the thought processes involved in a decision. However, that is not enough. On top of having written communication, make sure to talk about things and discuss them sitting down, and have those difficult conversations face-to-face.”

#4. Disagree and commit is a key concept

“Everybody’s perspective is important, ” reiterates Waszmer, “and if all don’t agree, it’s important to talk about it and discuss. But ultimately, once all involved have aired their thoughts and opinions, everyone has to commit to being a cohesive group, and commit to moving forward cohesively.”

#5: Demonstrate respect in words and actions

According to Dr. Solacito, “Respect is a value to be observed and promoted across the board in all departments. Make sure that respect is shown not just in words, not just during meetings where people are being ‘nice,’ but in the actions that follow.”

#6: Know your circle of control

“The circle of control is what you have control over,” explains Waszmer, “what you can change or can’t change. These things are not necessarily all of the things that are going to impact your decisions or impact what you are doing on a day-to-day basis, but it’s important to understand what is in your control, and what is out of your control.”

Learn more

Conference registrants, you can listen to the recording of this session—and the other 17 sessions—by logging on to the conference site and perusing the sessions under the Agenda tab. And if you missed the conference, we’ve got you covered. Purchase the conference recording package and you’ll have access to all 18 sessions, including the groundbreaking discussions that mark first steps in the journey to take action on diversity, equity, and inclusion in animal welfare. You’ll also have access to the opening remarks and the virtual exhibit hall, featuring 30+ booths. This is an important learning opportunity for staff working from home, or your team can watch as a group and discuss. And P.S., they can earn valuable CEs! 


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