For many large enterprises, securing cross-company collaboration determines whether or not projects make it successfully from strategy to execution. Additionally, collaboration frequently determines the successful adoption of major change initiatives. The importance of collaboration is plastered all across media networks, and yet, very little attention is paid to exactly how to ensure that the collaboration is effective. Is assigning people to a project and putting them in a room together enough? It is easy to think that collaboration is straightforward, but in reality, collaboration can often create more problems than it was intended to solve. Follow these tips to find yourself well on your way to collaborative enlightenment.
- Create Clear Goals This may seem like an obvious one, but a shocking number of collaborations are doomed to fail because only a couple people understand what the group is trying to achieve. A shared vision, along with agreed upon milestones and a back-up plan are crucial aspects of a successful collaboration.
- Provide Sufficient Resources Resources can be anything from number of people on the team, to funding, or even permissions to effect particular changes. The danger of ignoring this step becomes apparent further on in the collaboration, when people get frustrated at their inability to make the desired progress.
- Establish Accountability This step is hugely important and often mishandled. In group settings, it is easy for a team member to shrug off accountability because there are plenty of other people to help pick up the slack. To prevent freeloading, it is crucial to give every individual in the team an active role to play in the achievement of the ultimate goal. Preferably, this role should be aligned with said team member’s own proclivities so as to maximize commitment to the project.
- Share Information Continually Open and frequent communication is the beating heart of any collaborative effort, and yet the execution of this step is often impeded by unavoidable problems like an office layout that keeps people confined to their specific silos. While it may be useful for the C-Suite to consider the value of a different office layout, in the meantime, people still need to be able to communicate. Collaboration platforms are evolving rapidly and offer a good alternative to face-to-face meetings in the case that some employees work remotely. They can also improve efficiency by allowing everyone to collaborate when it is most convenient.
How does your organization ensure successful collaboration? Do you always have time to meet face-to-face or do you use a collaboration platform to keep your team in the loop?