In simple terms, collaboration is about working with others to produce something. Dig a little deeper into the motivating factors behind collaboration and you quickly realise that it is not just about working together.
Collaboration is about recognising that combined resources and skills are required to meet the desired outcome, and acknowledging that the collaborative output of the many will be superior to the separate output of a group of individuals.
But in a modern working environment, every business runs the risk of creating a culture of 'production line' or ‘siloed’ workflows, over reliance on digital technologies, and the inability to communicate openly, all of which can stifle collaboration.
By collaborating with others, different skills from different departments can be pooled together to make a project more successful than if one person worked on it.
It also gives the opportunity to learn from one another and can create a happier and more educated team, along with a sense of community within an organisation. Overall this can make the team more informed and can drive the business forward towards shared goals.
Collaborative efforts in the workplace can lead to innovative approaches to projects, new processes to accomplish key tasks, and shared ideas which gain wider ‘buy in’ than delegated tasks.
Share the workload
One of the major advantages of collaboration is that workloads can be shared, which is particularly important when working on larger projects. By sharing the workload, it will allow people to bring their skills and knowledge into play and will enable multiple work streams to be developed simultaneously.
Inspire each other
When you have different people collaborating on a project you get more creative input. The creative combination of several employees in one group will allow a collection of different ideas and approaches to the project to be developed. Idea gathering sessions can spur innovative results that can, in turn, raise the visibility and quality of the products or services offered by your company.
It is also an opportunity to listen and engage with stakeholders, and encourage active listening and engagement, which helps establish rapport and trust.
Encouraging collaboration in the workplace – Key considerations:
Be authentic - It’s important to be real and doesn't give false projections and expectations. You can establish what is possible to achieve and create realistic targets and goals.
Ask questions - Collaboration allows team members to find out more about the project, department, the options and opportunities etc. It may unlock solutions, define expectations, and broaden stakeholder knowledge. If you are unclear about something it would benefit you and the team if you ask questions to gain clarity.
Respect others - Respect those you work with and their knowledge and experience. Learn from them and they will enhance your understanding, which may even change your perspective and approach towards a product or project.
Create a positive environment - The value of insights and friendships which are gained in a collaborative environment is extremely valuable. This will create a more positive and productive environment.
Establish shared goals – It is important that defined goals are established, and all stakeholders understand what is expected of them.
The Development Zone has many courses which focus on team work, communication, and project management, which can be used to help develop a culture of collaborative working within your business.