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Tip of the Week: How to Encourage Collaboration

Tip of the Week: How to Encourage Collaboration

Collaboration is a crucial business process in many ways, which means you need to be sure that your entire team is on board and prepared to participate. This week, we’re offering some tips to help you accomplish just this in six simple steps.

Establish and Reinforce Roles

When establishing collaborative habits, it helps to know who is in charge of certain aspects of a project. Without these roles assigned and fully explained, some things are apt to go undone while other things may be done twice (or in other words, redundantly). Team meetings are a good time to practice establishing roles, as someone needs to run the meeting, and someone should be taking note of what is discussed.

Responsibilities, Too

You need to make sure that, as roles are assigned, the responsibilities that go with them are fully explained. Each task needs to be assigned to a specific person, with a specific timeframe that it needs to be accomplished within. This will not only help to ensure that there is no confusion about who needs to attend to what, but it will make sure that actual progress is made toward the final objective.

...And Goals as Well

Goals can be a great motivator, especially when failing to meet them not only affects the group, but the organization as a whole. Keep your goals simple and straightforward from the beginning, as overcomplicating them means that there is more room for interpretation, which opens you up to the wrong milestones being met. Don’t be afraid to touch back on your goals throughout the collaborative process as new considerations come into play - this will help you to stay focused on the group’s objective.

Don’t Shy Away from Conflict

Conflict usually gets a bad reputation, but if leveraged correctly, it can actually be of great benefit to any collaborative effort. The right amount of conflict among a group can help to expose critical issues with a project or identify where some team members need to step up a little. While it may be unpleasant in the moment, constructive conflict can create a better, more cohesive team experience and a better end result.

Establish (and Use) Collaboration Tools

Collaboration is much easier to properly leverage when a team has the right tools for the job. Identifying and deploying the solutions your team needs to work collaboratively - things like cloud storage, mobile computing, and cooperative virtual workspaces - will allow your team to work together, even when they’re physically apart. Of course, once you have these tools implemented, you need to make sure that everyone uses them. Leading by example and using these tools yourself is a good way to get your staff to follow suit; and, once they see how much easier it is to work together using these solutions, it may just become their preference.

Be Open to Ideas, and Give Credit for Good Ones

There are plenty of reasons that you should listen to your staff. After all, they are the ones who are working with the solutions you’ve provided, with the up-close-and-personal perspective that hands-on experience provides. They may think up a solution that you simply don’t have the perspective to consider, or they might just have a better idea. It benefits you and your business to embrace these ideas and leverage them to your advantage.

However, it is also important that the people responsible for these ideas are given their due credit. Otherwise, you run the risk of discouraging further idea sharing, and as a result, missing out on solid ideas that benefit your operations. Transparency in the process will keep your team engaged, motivated to perform to the best of their ability.

At 415 IT, we are well aware of the benefits that collaborative practices can bring. That’s why we offer the solutions that encourage this kind of work. To learn more about what we can offer your business to improve your collaboration and teamwork, reach out to us at (415) 295-4898.

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