Wikipedia defines ‘Collaboration’ as the process where two or more people, entities or organizations work together to complete a task or achieve a goal.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Henry Ford
Collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome. As Helen Killer rightly identified “Alone we can do so little; together we can do much”.
In real world working together in tandem has always remained a difficult job. Working together or collaborating for a common goal poses some challenges.
Challenges in collaboration and teamwork –
The word ‘TEAM’ stands for ‘Together Everybody Achieves More’. But, in today’s fast paced, hypercompetitive scenario in a family, in the society and in many organizations collaboration lacks.
TEAM – Picture by Rodnae on pexels.com
Establishing the culture of working together and collaborating is a real challenge. Remember the following factors that may induce as barriers of Collaborative skills –
- Lack of engagement – A study made by Gallup, a market research agency showed that on an average in an organization approximately 64 % employees are disengaged, 24 % are actively disengaged and 12 % – 15 % are actually engaged towards their work commitments.
Do not expect collaboration from your disengaged people. You need to act, repair or remove it as soon as possible.
- Lack of transparency – There are seniors and leaders in an organization who do not communicate the organizational progress, directions, and concerns down the line to the people. This culture gradually diminishes trust, working together attitude builds inter-dependability in the team.
Collaboration can not be built without unconditional trust.
33 % employees said that a lack of open, honest communication has the most negative impact on employee morale and thereby probably reducing the act of collaboration.
- Improper goal setting – A team may not be delegated with proper tasks, may not be monitored, measured, and appraised on regular intervals. This may cause non-alignment and lack of cohesiveness in the team and eventually disrupts team collaboration.
“ A team is more than a collection of people. It is a process of give and take” Barbara Glacel
- Work culture – A team constitute of multiple members. The members may come from different backgrounds, with varied caste and individual religious beliefs. Each organization has its own culture, values, mission and vision. Unless the team members are oriented towards organizational culture the collaboration may not be established.
Work Culture – Picture Courtesy pexels.com
- Lack of appreciation – Success demands appreciation. As rightly said by Del Carnegie “Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely”. Remember a very few people are actually ‘self-motivated’. Appreciation works as an external motivator for most of us. Motivated people themselves make a cohesive network of collaboration. They act hand in hand.
Lack of appreciation or no appreciation at work actually spoils collaboration.
Despite all the challenges and barriers collaboration can be built up by executing certain steps.
Steps for successful collaboration –
- Build a team – When you build a team do not immediately expect heights of teamwork or strong collaboration. A team passes through different stages to finally ‘gel’ up before it collaborates and works to its full potential.
Psychologist Bruce Tuckman suggested a model for team building and collaboration. He described the five stages of team development is – Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning ( or mourning ).
In order to build effective collaboration first you need to identify currently at which stage your team is at, then align all your efforts and resources to move on to the next phase.
- Set Goals – Setting goals are one of the major undeniable steps while establishing collaboration in teams. While forming a team tag a ‘SMART’ goal. ‘SMART’ stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.
Goal Setting – Picture by Matthias on pexels.com
Remember eyeing for big is good, but planning and achieving a small yet relevant, consistent and within a deadline even better.
“ Goal should be realistic, attainable and shared among all members of the team” – Mike Krzyzewski
- Communicate Relentlessly – The ‘CMS Wire’ reports that 97 % of employees believe that effective communication impacts their task efficiency on a daily basis.
Practice communicating relentlessly with your team if you want to build collaboration.
Further study reveals that improper or no communication may result in failure to complete a project, low employee morale, missed performance goals and eventually gross failure in developing collaborative skills among team members.
Communicate Relentlessly – Picture courtesy by pexels.com
- Encourage Team Members to Share Ideas – Get all team members on the same page and encourage them to share ideas or inputs. Be open to all suggestions. Make them feel they are important. Remember each team member may have something unique to offer. Often people are not very comfortable or not extrovert to share ideas. Tell them no ideas are bad and dumb. If required, ask them to send their ideas through email or text messages. Compile all ideas. Make an idea bank. Discuss and brainstorm them in a common meeting and finally a great idea will emerge and through the process of ideation a team will start collaborating.
“ A great idea is simply the combination of many good ideas” – John Maxwell
- Walk the Talk – As a team leader to build up collaboration you must walk the talk. Walk the talk is a major secret ingredient of collaboration.
True team leader always walk the talk or in other words they lead by example.
As a team leader when you walk the talk that inspires and motivates all your team members, credibility goes up and teams start collaborating.
- Make People Accountable – When you hold your team members accountable against their objectives it breeds trust, cohesiveness and relationship.
“ A culture of accountability makes a good organization great and great organization unstoppable” – Henry Evans
The culture of accountability builds connections and improves the quality of your communication leading to a better collaborative environment.
- Appreciate – If you plan to collaborate learn to appreciate. When team feels that their work is appreciated and recognized they further make the team bonding stronger.
While today there is a big shift in technology, regulatory and in our society even then human connections will always remain powerful. Appreciation brings encouragement to deliver even better resulting in team collaboration.
Appreciation – Picture by Rodnae on pexels.com
Key Takeways – Collaboration is an essential skill for today and undoubtedly for unseen tomorrow.
Work environment requires collaboration. Collaboration skills enables you to work towards a common goal and productive results. Are you preparing yourself ready for tomorrow’s indispensable future fit skill – Collaboration ?
Put your comments in the comment section for interactions and your views ..
Meanwhile we will be back with the next ‘Future- Ready’ skill article ..
Till then hold on your breath !