3 Steps to Building a Collaborative Business

Investing in technology tools that drive innovation and connect key stakeholders will help accelerate collaboration only if people know how to use these tools. Otherwise, instead of accelerating collaboration, you’ve just purchased some expensive dust collectors.

This is why adopting technology is just as important as the technology itself to advance collaboration within your organization.

Initiating User Adoption

Board room virtual meetingWhat is involved in effective user adoption? Typically a training team is assembled and directed as to what should be covered in a training session. A more effective approach is to initiate user adoption by taking a “top-down” approach in communicating the vision. All collaboration sponsors should take the opportunity and put collaboration into practice. How can you capitalize on the opportunity?

  • Use training events to also explore the benefits of collaboration technology
  • Reinforce how collaboration can help to achieve business results
  • Understand how user adoption drives ROI on collaboration technology
  • Avoid these 5 Common Mistakes in Technology User Adoption

The 3 Step Approach to Effective Technology Adoption

Using this approach will lead to successful technology adoption.

  1. Assessment
  2. Implementation
  3. Evaluation

It is important to note that in order to have real change in behaviour, it also takes time, a strategy and resources to make it happen.

1. Assessment

During the assessment phase, it is important to determine the strategy gaps that prevent an organization from achieving their collaboration goals. To successfully conduct an assessment, everyone must keep an open mind and avoid coming into the process with a predetermined solution in hand. Assessments must be extensive and include examining the organization’s needs in the three areas of collaboration: culture, process, and technology. Begin to collaborate by bringing in other resources such as HR, finance, and IT to help determine the organization’s current state. Describe the desired state and map the gap between the two. The assessment should aim to identify what the best solutions are to help achieve the organization’s desired goal. Many organizations believe that training will close the gap but it may not necessarily be the case. What if the assessment indicates that there are gaps in processes? The gaps can be filled.  For example, adjusting the way a purchase order is completed. Or, a culture gap may require extensive strategic changes that effect how the organization functions as a whole. It is key that executives tap into the knowledge of their training departments by completing a needs assessment prior to conducting training. Executives should also encourage other departments to collaborate in the assessment phase in order to ensure that information sharing lays the ground work for the next phase, the implementation strategy.

2. Implementation

Teamwork is vital during the implementation step. For example, introducing video conferencing, as a corporate-wide strategic initiative should include multiple stakeholders. The planning and implementation process should include a partnership between IT, Finance, Project Management, Training, and an executive sponsor. All the partners should participate in sharing their knowledge and insight to develop and execute the plan. The result of collaborating and openly sharing ideas is two-fold: an innovative plan and better buy-in leads to a higher adoption rate. When implementing a business improvement measure, a learning and development professional will recommend many short training sessions. This allows people to have the opportunity to absorb what they have learned and trainers can reinforce concepts. Real change occurs when what has been taught becomes the norm. Learners must be encouraged to adopt behaviours that support the business improvement strategy; this is where tangible organizational change will occur. Make the implementation process an evolution not a revolution.

3. Evaluation

There is a great saying: “What gets focused on gets done.” This is what the evaluation phase is all about. This is a time when organizations should review what is actually happening after training and this should be done shortly after training – say 4 to 6 months afterwards. A successful evaluation should include:

  • Measurements of key metrics that can be used to determine the level of success of the business improvement and user adoption of the new technology
  • Identify new gaps or solutions
  • Refine and refocus on the goal

Teamwork should play a role in this phase as well. For an in-depth evaluation, consider using focus groups as a tool. Two focus groups should be conducted with:

  1. Stakeholders that were involved in planning and implementing the strategy
  2. Employees who are impacted to allow them to share their knowledge and experiences

Share feedback widely. Celebrate the accomplishments.

The knowledge collected from your evaluation stage will help you get a better understanding of how well collaborative approaches work in your organization and will help the organization to develop more informed plans for future implementations.

“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”

– Confucius

Confucius (Chinese philosopher & reformer, 551 BCE – 479 BCE) said, “I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.” This holds true when using collaboration in assessing, implementing and evaluating changes to how your organization does business.

Collaboration technology that has been embraced by employees allows the organization to realize the true benefits the technology was meant to enable and encourages a culture of knowledge sharing, appreciation of challenges and successes, and becoming more flexible and competitive.

If you would like more information on the 3 Steps to Building a Collaborative Business, contact us.

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