1. Collaboration helps individuals be responsible for themselves.
Effective collaboration leaves everyone with individual assignments, and each team member leaves knowing that there will be follow ups on those tasks. People value their jobs, and don’t want to disappoint their coworkers, or be the weak link in the chain. This also raises individual and team motivation, inspiring employees to reach beyond their own tasks and help others accomplish things too.
2. Collaboration brings people together.
It provides common ground for employee discussion. In an increasingly digital world, face to face communication has taken a bit of a back seat. Collaboration creates an opportunity for real-time discussion and working together to brainstorm solutions is a faster way to solve common problems.
3. Collaboration yields creativity.
Can you imagine a world where artists like Queen & David Bowie or Beyoncé+ Jay-Z didn’t embrace collaboration? Collaboration allows teams to take each other’s strengths and build something that might not be imagined otherwise. Teams that draw on individual’s experiences and perspectives work more quickly and efficiently than those trying to solve the same problems on their own. Bringing people together is an effective way to combine a wide variety of knowledge and skills to solve problems. The talent available in a group of people is much greater than what’s available on an individual level.
4. Collaboration is a continuous learning experience.
Individuals and teams that work together also have the opportunity to teach one another in a more effective way. Instead of teaching from the top down, education happens within the organization or team. Learning is more effective and lasts longer. Collaboration builds a culture of continuous learning, by creating opportunities for everyone to grow and develop. This pushes team members to grow and move beyond their comfort zones, taking your business beyond its current state. Because none of your employees are the same, collaboration will force everyone to look beyond and see the big picture. Your role as a leader, is to facilitate that big picture learning, as well as leverage individuals to work together in the best way possible to help them see results.
So, what’s the best way to build collaboration within your business? Start by:
1. Empowering your employees
If you can empower your employees to run the system themselves, collaboration will take off. Unlike technology, people can’t be automated, and that’s why collaboration is so important to running a successful business (though, available technology should be a huge part of the collaboration).
2. Embracing technology
With the technology we have available today, collaboration isn’t limited to meeting in a conference room anymore. Virtual collaboration opens up limitless options for pulling ideas from all around the world. It allows your team to work with a pool of available talent that is experienced and credible in an unlimited number of ways. Because of the internet, we can collaborate with people in markets and organizations across the globe, allowing for better understanding of customers and products. It creates a more diverse background of understanding.
In addition to making the talent pool wider for your team, if you do your research, you can find the right technology to fit your team’s workflow. For example, Hightail is purpose-built with creative and marketing teams in mind, helping them collaborate faster on projects where visual assets are the main topic of discussion.
As with anything in business, there are risks involved in collaboration. Completely turning the reins over to teams, in the spirit of allowing maximum collaboration, is difficult and can sometimes result in failures. As a leader, you have to understand each team you work with, as well as the individuals on those teams, and work with them to create the best collaborative environment possible.
One of the biggest benefits to collaboration, is that as employees work together, they find more joy and purpose in their work. This adds a lot of value to the team, as well as to their own jobs. As employees feel good about what they do, their team and individual spirit is strengthened. Employees who feel like they belong to a team are more likely to keep working for that company, and continue to provide quality work. Feeling that they are a part of something important improves their job performance and their outlook on the job itself.
Teaching collaboration to your employees isn’t something that happens overnight. It needs to be a part of your company culture and something that you constantly work for and refine. When you hire new employees, bring others into the interview and watch them interact. Problem solving and people skills are an important part of collaboration.
More and more businesses today are learning that a major key to success is found in business collaboration. Finding how to create that culture and inspire individuals and teams to collaborate is difficult, but worth the work. Businesses that collaborate effectively will become more efficient and productive.