Collaboration: Building team bridges to 'get stuff done'
How often have you felt like you or your team are pulling bogged down in the process when trying to complete a project or task? It’s sooooooo frustrating isn’t it? We live in such rapid times of change in the world. Ideas and solutions on our doorstep via our digital landscape, global news (fake and real) only a click away. Our workplaces are scrambling to keep up. To remain competitive during these fast times innovative organisations are looking for ways to make streamlined informed decisions. Strong employee engagement, stellar leadership and positive workplace culture are very much top and centre of building effective business responses. “Collaboration” is one of the new buzz words of the modern working age. Leaders and teams who can collaborate effectively achieve greater business progress. What is collaboration? “Collaboration is a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefit. Collaboration enables individuals to work together to achieve a defined and common business purpose.” 1
How can you embed effective collaboration at work?
Get your exec team on board. All effective culture and engagement must be driven from top down. Does your Exec team communicate effectively amongst themselves? Do they really understand the business value of improving collaboration? If not, who’s going to address the elephant in the room?(!)
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Open, transparent and regular communication about change and progress achieves so much. When employees feel like they are part of the whole picture they are more engaged and willing to participate. Again, leaders need to own this responsibility – What they say and how they say it is the mainstay of a collaborative and thriving workplace.
Think about the work space. Light, air and colour have all be shown to inspire us at work. Ensure there are areas to meet and mix both informally and formally. I’m always surprised at how poorly some workplaces set up physical areas to share information. When we make a space to meet, we are immediately removing one of the obstacles of communication.2
Provide a vehicle for your team to voice opinions. I maintain that sometimes the best ideas in workplaces come from the coalface, those who deal with the hands-on issues every day. When leaders take time regularly to allow their employees to suggest positive change, not only are they enabling collaboration but they are also building trust and engagement. A weekly meeting hub, online forum or intranet chat is a good way that ideas can be expressed. I prefer an environment where face to face communication can occur though. Importantly, act on constructive suggestions. Make it happen.3
Have visible clear short and long-term goals. Put in place time constraints and review outcomes regularly. Review onerous processes – Effective collaboration and bureaucracy don’t mix well!
Mix it up. Work groups who are diverse and inclusive are more creative. Creativity and curiosity go hand in hand. This is essential if we want to find solutions more rapidly.4
Encourage constructive disagreement. Out of disagreement comes a better idea (hopefully!) Establishing core values including respect and freedom of opinion allow team members to express themselves more readily. Remember – it’s all about the delivery of the message though!5,6
Reward collaborative success. Well actually reward all success full stop. Verbal and written regular positive feedback is a great starting point and only serves to encourage employees to be more productive.
“Great things in business are never done by one person; they're done by a team of people." – Steve Jobs
Collaboration is like one of those lego pieces with identical connecting ends in the employee workplace bridge. When team members collaborate effectively both together and with leadership to drive positive change, engagement increases and culture is the winner. Sources: