Collaboration in the Workplace

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Andrew Carnegie

Most successful leaders guide their organizations not through command or control, but through a shared purpose and vision. These leaders adopt and communicate a vision of the future. Collaboration is essential for organizational change whether the change involves creating new products, services, processes or a total reinvention of the organization.

Collaboration in the workplace is when two or more people, often groups, work together through idea sharing and thinking to accomplish a common goal. With the advancement in technology, collaboration has become more productive in doing things. Collaboration the workplace incorporates teamwork and other aspects, and such as the following:

  • Thinking and brainstorming ideas to provide solutions – this element brings the team together to offer different opinions, perspective, and expertise to solve for common problems.
  • A strong sense of purpose – The value in working together truly collaborate a team and individuals. Collaboration is not forced upon someone.
  • Equal Participation – Treating everyone when collaborating can open up communication and encourage ideas from every employee in the company or department.

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“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goal.”

Idowu Koyenikan

Collaboration is a process that continues to get better over time and it’s not a one-time event nor is it easy to implement without practice. The more people collaborate, the more significant their working relationships become and teams are able to share and discuss new ideas, leading to more successful results.

In the workplace, collaboration often takes place in the form of a team, a network or a community. Teams members that are focused on a joint goal or product, such as a presentation, completing a project, writing a report, or creating a new design or prototype. Networks are systems of people who shared information and services. Communities are made up of members with shared interests who want to learn from each other by building and sharing knowledge. The best way to transition from an individual to a collaborative mindset is to equip each team members for active participation in the group dynamic.

Here are 9 ways to cultivate the team’s unity:

  1. Create a clear and compelling cause 

    For collaboration to work, the vision and purpose must be clear. When they are given a clear and gripping cause to be involved with, team members naturally become as passionate about the goals and objectives as their leaders.

  2. Communicate Expectations 

    Collaboration must be communicated to team members as the minimum standard. With this type of focus, what starts out as a goal becomes a crusade with the experience of success changing from an individual achievement into a bonded group experience building comrade and morale.

  3. Establish Team Goals 

    To drive success in team members it’s important to set measurable goals for each on a quarterly basis. The purpose of these goals is to provide team members with achievable wins. These wins have a magical way of breaking down barriers and creating positive momentum individually and collectively. Further, it’s imperative to re-evaluate goals and redirect whenever necessary.

  4. Leverage team-member strengths 

    To empower each team member, it is a great strategy to work with their strengths rather than working around their weaknesses. This is a great bonding exercise because the results allow each person to get to know themselves and their team members in a much deeper way. It also gives team members information about who to go to and for what based upon each person’s individual strengths. When teams are connected in this way, each member is set up for success because they are each assigned tasks that play to their respective strengths.

  5. Foster cohesion between team members. 

    Cohesive teams are successful because each person on the team is included in as many large decisions as possible. When team members feel this type of inclusion, they feel the perceived significance of their role, causing them to naturally perform better. These huddles keep everyone on the same playbook and enable team members to redirect their efforts as needed.

  6. Encourage Innovation 

    Team members must be coached and led to believe the challenges and obstacles they face can and will be overcome. It is also important to ask team members for their thoughts, their reasoning, and ideas on a regular basis. When a “can-do” attitude is instilled it motivates team members to live up to those “can-do” expectations.

  7. Keep promises and honor requests 

    When team members and customers feel they can depend upon you and your team to deliver what they expect, business grows, relationships grow as does revenue. Taking a request from a customer seriously and demonstrating that the team is working to do what they say they are going to do, goes a long way towards building trust and blurring boundaries.

  8. Encourage people to socialize outside of work 

    Socializing with coworkers outside the office is an effective way to open channels of communication, to create a better understanding and break down any walls of pre-judgemental or mistrust between team members. When team members learn they share common interests or wrestle with some of the same challenges outside of work as others, they experience their team members as more real, which helps to decrease individual bias, stereotyping and false objectifying.

  9. Recognize, reward, and celebrate collaborative behavior.

    Team members often sit in conversation reminiscing over how it all came together. Attaching performance rewards and bonuses to collaborative efforts sends the right message to team members about the values that are driving the business.

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Workplace Collaboration can be implemented in any type of organization. It can be extremely effective because individuals have different expertise, perspectives, ideas to find innovative solutions and implement their ideas which allow organizations to solve problems faster and more efficient.

For collaboration to work it must be consistent and purposeful, with resources and rewards dedicated to its success. You may have many standout successes in your company already, but you can increase your productivity exponentially by getting them to work as a collaborative team.

Collaboration is dependent upon well-developed personal relationships among participants. Trust is the belief or confidence that one party has in the reliability, integrity, and honesty of another party. Trust is the one that keeps it all together.

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