4 Principles to guide you on your journey to collaboration

Posted by ET Group on January 26, 2015

Organizations are complex.

One of the most important functionalities — carried out minute-by-minute, day-in and day-out, by all organizations — is collaboration. 

When organizations collaborate better, we perform better. We often waste so much time spent on fixing problems related to the inability to collaborate effectively. You can help encourage better collaboration in your organization by focusing on four areas:

We have identified 4 guiding principles that are important to understand if you are trying to increase the collaboration capabilities of your organization or business ecosystem.

1) Collaboration doesn’t have to be “real time”

Expecting all collaboration to happen in real time is limiting. When you open the door to asynchronous collaboration, you’ll find that people work best in different ways at different times.

Although it may seem odd to collaborate together but not “together,” you’ll soon realize that projects are being completed sooner and at a higher quality, as well as with less tension between team members. 

There are many programs and platforms such as MURAL, Monday, Asana, even Google Drive that allow users the ability to work asynchronously. Sometimes this even grants the opportunity for more productivity, as people can contribute during the hours they are at peak focus time, instead of feeling the pressure to force out ideas during a conference call. 

This is especially beneficial for organizations who have team members living in multiple different time zones. Embracing asynchronous collaboration provides a more inclusive and equal working environment.

2) Meet your team where they are

If people are working remotely, rather than in-office, then it makes sense to use platforms that offer more than just video calling. For example, Microsoft Teams has features for storing and organizing shared files, creating separate teams for specific projects and even managing and assigning tasks between team members. 

Tools such as these make much more sense than a whiteboard in the office that not everyone has access to. 

That being said, there are likely still team members who do work in the office, and providing technology such as whiteboard cameras or video windows for hybrid meetings will be beneficial for everyone. 

3) Provide your team with tools to help them collaborate effectively

We’ve mentioned several technology tools and platforms throughout this post that are great for fostering teamwork and communication. However, this doesn’t mean that the same tools will work for every organization. 

Finding the right tools depends on the needs of your people, projects and overall day-to-day operations. The right tools will help you increase communication, decrease project timelines and foster better collaboration between team members. 

Sometimes this requires a little bit of trial and error, which is why user testing and really listening to the feedback from your team is important. Use this as an opportunity to collaborate on how you collaborate. 

Which leads us to our final principle:

4) Feedback matters

Check-in with different team members from different departments often, and ask them what tools are or aren’t working. Maybe some people need a little extra training on how to use some platforms, or you need to establish clearer guidelines around how, when and where to use them. 

If you tried something new and it truly isn’t going well, this doesn’t mean it’s the end. Ask for alternative suggestions and opinions from the actual users. Don’t leave major decisions like these up to just the executives or managers within your organization. 

The more your people feel included in these decisions, the more likely that they will adapt to new collaboration technologies quicker and with more enthusiasm.

Getting started

Whether you are searching for new tools to help your team collaborate, or are starting from scratch and need to develop new collaborative practices, ET Group is here to help.

From technology solutions, to workshops that will help your team develop new practices, we’ll co-create the collaborative environment you’ve been dreaming of, and then some.

Book a Discovery Call today!

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