I bet you never hear the topic collaboration discussed in your office… just kidding! We all know it’s a full-size concern in companies today with one recent study revealing that 75 percent of employers rate team work or collaboration as very important! Whereas, 38 percent of employees feel there is not enough collaboration occurring in their workplace.

Today’s volatility and competitive marketplace require entirely new operating principles not simply for your company, but by you as well. It’s almost impossible for a business or even a single individual to possess the knowledge, skills, and techniques needed to solve every problem facing them. And despite the fact that mutually beneficial relationships are what organizations are striving for—it’s not easy to come by for either the company or its employees.

Why? Because collaboration calls for everyone being equal when working on a project no matter the position they hold—while currently, business functions stand on a hierarchical power base. Competition is rife within companies—while collaboration thrives on cooperation, not competition. Employees lean into their expertise as part of their success package—and collaboration is about you allowing others to influence your judgment. Do you see collaboration is the antithesis of how business historically operates?

Let’s explore six tips to aid you in navigating these tumultuous waters with ease:

  • Know the Rules of Engagement: Starting out with assumptions regarding how the group will function moving forward is a surefire guarantee for conflict and failure. Take time to plan, and you’ll see huge ROE (return on effort)!
  • Know Your Destination: As Lewis Carroll said in Alice and Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.” This tenet, knowing where you’re going, is even more critical as collaborative groups must be fully engaged. And that only occurs when the team has consistent, clear direction. Collaboration without purpose is a waste of a time which directly translates to poor bottom-line results.
  • Know Yourself: You’re part of the team because you bring strengths and expertise which your company believes will enhance the outcome. If you remain silent, your business loses.
  • Know Your Partners: It is easy to become locked into what’s not working rather than what’s working. Remember, even unspoken thoughts have energy. So, transform your thinking and instead commit to respecting and honoring your partners for all they bring to the table. Look for the specific skills or talents that represent the other person’s “added value” to the company and the project’s success.
  • Know Receiver-Centric Communication: It is hard to be heard, let alone have your views accepted when you’re not speaking the receiver’s preferred method. What do we mean? If you love getting into the detail of an issue and you’re dialoguing with someone whose prime concern is “big-picture” needs, no one will heed you. Take time to understand their favored style. And A Cautionary Heads-Up. Communication is no small matter in groups when research reveals 86 percent of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failure. So, be open, enrolling and supportive.
  • Ask The Ultimate Question: Great you have a bunch of terrific ideas. Now, what? Give up ego and any possible loyalty-driven views; and ask: “What decision will ultimately be best for the business?” This focus should be the key measurement for evaluating the wisdom of any conclusions as you formulate the group’s ultimate solution.

Now that you’ve thought through these six tips, are you ready to take on the collaborative world and shine?


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