The Benefits of Collaboration
Have you ever been in a team meeting and wondered why on earth you are there? When teams don’t have the skills to collaborate it can be frustrating for many individuals. Effective collaboration is working together with a purpose.
How not to collaborate
Collaboration is not:
A meeting. Just because the whole team was invited to join and contribute, that doesn’t mean it’s collaboration. (For a great resource on virtual meetings click here)
A consultation. The “we talk but I decide” mindset isn’t collaborative, just consultative.
A debate. (Read more about Debate Vs Dialogue here)
Avoiding conflict. Participants not contributing truthfully to avoid fall outs can be a challenge when trying to collaborate with different levels of management.
Just for extroverts. If the introverts are full of ideas but aren’t bringing them to the table surrounded by extroverts, then that isn’t collaboration either.
A discussion led by a leader. Equal opportunities to contribute are key in collaboration.
Many of the above points do have a place in business; however, effective collaboration has many benefits. Humans have been collaborating for thousands of years. As a species we are meant to communicate with each other and we enjoy doing so.
Four brains are smarter than one. By collaborating with others we can achieve more and get better results than we can as just individuals. This is because more people means more experience, more knowledge, and more ideas. If you bring those brains together then tasks can be completed more efficiently and to a better quality.
Collaboration is the perfect opportunity to network with and learn from others; when they share their above mentioned knowledge and experience, it becomes part of your own knowledge and experience. It’s perfect for sparking ideas. How many times has someone ‘given you an idea’ when they’ve shared their own idea? Ideation creates this ripple effect of innovation and creativity.
When collaboration is done right, it means better productivity, faster decisions and more efficient use of time. This is due to clear communication, good understanding, and expectations of each other. The shared responsibility can mean a more enjoyable working environment with less individual pressure and a sense of ‘we’re in it together’.
Ultimately, effective collaboration contributes to increased profitability because of all the reasons above and more! At least that’s what 73% of businesses believe according to research authored by Google.
Have you checked our Collaboration Workshop yet? This will equip you with the tools and techniques you need to unite with your team and organisation for incredible performance.
What stops us from collaborating?
There are many barriers that prevent us from collaborating effectively, the first being that there is a misconception about what collaboration actually is - hopefully we cleared that up for you earlier in this blog!
A more recent challenge for teams is their lack of experience in working as a virtual team and making use of virtual collaboration tools. 2020 hasn’t been short of opportunities to learn new skills, and the platforms that have become available to us are great - with so much demand for such functionalities, tech is going to keep improving and enhancing our ability to collaborate rather than hindering it.
Those needing to collaborate can become frustrated when others have higher priorities and therefore lack availability to contribute. This can happen when two different departments are tasked to work together on a project but where it sits on their to-do list differs.
Sometimes the responsibility for our inability to collaborate lies within ourselves. Some of us are not good at communicating; often, introverts spend more time worrying about contributing than actually contributing. Meanwhile, extroverts sometimes overcontribute - some can’t help but take control and attempt to lead the meeting. Some of us are poor listeners, some of us are just not team players. The good thing is, there is always an opportunity to grow, learn, and better ourselves. If we are able to recognise our own weaknesses then we can always work to improve them.
What can we do to collaborate more?
Start at home. Evaluate yourself and how effective you believe you are at collaborating - if you think you’re currently a 6/10, take some time to think about how you can improve to a 7/10. Also consider your strengths and what areas of knowledge and expertise you could offer to collaborate with others.
Think about projects and tasks you are currently working on. Where can you invite others to collaborate with you? Review the effectiveness of collaboration when you complete tasks or meetings with others and consider what you will improve next time.
Alternatively, you can book a 100-minute Collaboration Workshop with The Virtual Training Team for your team to really enhance the effectiveness of collaboration in your organisation.
Get in touch to find out more!