5 Tips to Inspire Collaboration in the Workplace
Collaboration, aka “collabs,” are more popular than ever. By working together, people can utilize their collective knowledge and skills to create better, faster results than any individual could manage. For business, this can translate into speed to market, economies of scale, increased creativity, and even opportunities for growth and development. In this article, we’ll investigate collaboration and share tips that inspire it in the workplace.
Inspiring a Collaborative Work Environment
Collaboration is when two or more individuals, teams, or organizations work together to achieve shared goals. It is based on an open exchange of ideas and can create something new and innovative.
One of the most notable pioneers in business collaboration was Steve Jobs. Jobs said, “Great things in business are never done by one person; they’re done by a team of people.” With his revolutionary approach to technology, Jobs combined formerly disparate components such as hardware, software, and services into a cohesive, unified product. This collaborative approach enabled Apple to become a leader in the tech industry and other businesses to follow suit. Other influential figures in business collaboration include Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, who focused on franchising and creating strong partnerships with suppliers and investors, and Henry Ford, whose mass production technique revolutionized automobile manufacturing.
Collaboration Can Fuel Continuous Improvement
Collaboration can be rejuvenating; artists, musicians, chefs, scientists, inventors, and people from all walks of life find that uniting forces can yield interesting, new, and innovative results. The advantage of collaboration is the opportunity to pick the brain of your fellow collaborator and learn not only what they create but the thinking behind it. As Austin Kleon says in Steal Like an Artist, “You don’t want to look like your heroes; you want to see like your heroes.”
Collaboration Requires Transparency
Collaboration requires sharing knowledge and resources and transparency that fosters open dialogue. It requires an environment where ideas and information can flow freely. The foundation for this kind of culture is trust.
Building solid relationships and trust between collaborators helps foster open communication, allowing people to express ideas without fear of judgment or criticism. If mutual respect has been established, each collaborator can take risks and be willing to share their insights to create a groundbreaking solution, product, or experience. Trust is critical to successful collaboration, allowing all participants to bring their best work into the process.
Tools for Connecting and Communicating
Today’s great collaborations rely on platforms and tools that facilitate sharing documents, ideas, visuals, project plans, task management, and more. Technologies such as video conferencing, file sharing, online chat, and document sharing are essential to ensure everyone is on the same page. You will also want to investigate project management software like Slack, collaborative task management tools like Asana, online discussion boards like Basecamp, and other cloud-sharing services like Google Drive.
5 Tips for Inspiring Collaboration in the Workplace
- Create a space where employees can collaborate when needed but have time alone for calls, focused work, and more. Think “open plan,” but with quiet areas for thinking.
- Set an example for employees as a manager. Show them how to create effective groups and work together.
- Build collaboration into your company goals and values.
- Mix up your work communication methods. If you always write emails, have face-to-face meetings, or bring people together physically for an engaging brainstorming session.
- Be proactive when issues arise among employees. Collaboration requires openness, diversity, and those willing to challenge assumptions, so people must learn to question, disagree, or present a contrary viewpoint respectfully.
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