Collaboration: It’s More Than Just Tools

Collaboration – What do you think of when you hear the word? If you’re like many, you think of internet sites and software programs that make it easier for team members to communicate – whether they’re sitting in cubicles right next to each other or at desks in different parts of the world. But that’s only part of the equation.

In his book The Culture of Collaboration, Evan Rosen points out that: ….. tools and technologies never create collaboration. Culture creates collaboration. In other words, you can have all the tools in the world; but if no one feels free to share ideas and possibilities, those tools are not going to do anyone much good.

So how does one go about encouraging collaboration? How does one foster an atmosphere that says: Your ideas really are important. We really do want to hear them? There is no one right answer across the board. What works for one company will fail spectacularly in another, but there are some basics principles to keep in mind:

  • Brainstorm Together: It sounds rather obvious, but it’s easily forgotten. Collaboration can’t occur in a vacuum. If one person is making the decisions and coming up with the solutions, collaboration isn’t taking place. So make sure everyone’s given a chance to contribute.
  • Listen to All: The only thing worse than not be given a say at all in something is when the opportunity to do so is done just for show. If an opinion is worth asking for, it’s worth being given serious consideration. So make sure all suggestions are given serious consideration, not just nodded at and then discarded.
  • Be Generous with Recognition:  Most people like to be recognized and thanked for their accomplishments. They may not expect balloons and confetti, but public acknowledgement of their contributions encourages them to put forth their best efforts. So make sure credit and appreciation is given wherever it’s due.

In short, collaboration goes a long way to creating success. But an atmosphere that encourages collaboration doesn’t happen automatically. It must be actively worked toward. If we can help you in any way in your endeavors to create that atmosphere, don’t hesitate to contact us. Helping businesses succeed is why we’re here.

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