Have you discovered that more and more of your work tasks involve collaborating with others?
As technology and the accompanying tools evolve, employers are finding it more beneficial to have their workers “come together” and to share ideas and materials for project development.
The Australian-based company INS (acronym for In No-one’s Shadow) has focused much of its efforts on preparing workforces for the future, which includes keeping current employees updated as well as helping companies keep their employees moving towards the future. Although INS is based in Australia, its outreach is global, which means the advice offered on collaboration can be used by all.
Below are several tips from a May 2016 INS article to keep in mind for your collaboration projects. You can click this link to read the entire article.
- Understand the Bigger Picture—mentally move beyond your immediate group and role, and look at the larger outcome of why this project is important.
- Clarify the Objectives—if everyone is “not on the same page,” the project may wind up going nowhere. Make sure the objectives are clearly stated and that everyone understands these objectives. As stated by INS, “…clarify whether all stakeholders and group members have the same objectives, and are working through any differences…”
- Agree on Roles and Leadership—early discussions on and the identification of leadership and the other roles will make it easier to move forward on the project. It is also important to establish accountability as it is connected to the various roles.
- Know the Boundaries—just as accountability is important, it is equally vital for each person to know boundaries for themselves and others and to have these boundaries respected.
- Develop an Ecosystem, not an ‘Egosystem’—remember, it’s about the successful completion of the project and not about someone grandstanding. Being a good listener (this goes for all group members) is essential.
- Value Diverse Input—keep an open mind and realize that everyone’s contributions to the discussions and efforts should be appreciated.
If you want to improve your communication and collaboration skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.
Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information email RichlandBOSS@dcccd.edu, or call 972-238-6215.
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by Royce Murcherson
In the last blog post, I talked about teamwork in the workplace being more effective when communication, collaboration, and coordination are at the center. I began the discussion focusing on the importance of effective communication. It should be concise. It should present information in the form of a well thought out plan. It should be clear and easy to understand. It should speed up the decision-making process. And it should be inherently persuasive which speaks directly to the level of collaboration a strong team must have to be successful.
Without communication, there can be no real collaboration.
WHAT IS COLLABORATION?
Collaboration is a group process through which colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes not limited to one individual idea.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO COLLABORATE?
- Everyone has a voice at the table
- Being perceived as a good partner
- Valuing Different Viewpoints
- Coming across as a common united front
THREE ESSENTIALS IN THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS
- Engage Your Partners – Team members should share knowledge. Knowledge sharing is a healthy and productive means by which the group can arrive at the best solution.
- Capture Ideas and Action Items – Team members should keep an accurate record of meeting notes. Some alternative forms of note taking can include diagrams or flow charts that visually depict innovative proposals.
- Recognize Ideas – Team members should give credit where credit is due. A pat on the back, a nod at the table, and a simple “I agree” can go a long way. There is no stronger motivation than positive feedback.
TWO MUST-HAVE’S TO MAKE IT WORK
- Build Relationships – It is absolutely essential to build relationships among your team members. Take time to build personal relationships by getting to know each other. During this process, strengths and opportunities can be discovered and used to the best advantage of the team.
- Foster Trust – Being able to depend on your colleagues to deliver tasks on time and in detail is also absolutely essential. Trust is the confidence. And confidence that each member will fully contribute to the group eliminates pressure and unnecessary stress.
THE BIG ADVANTAGES
Since collaboration is now a hot item in the workplace, the advantages are not hard to spot. Collaborative teams bring together different viewpoints because teams are frequently pulled from different talent pools or departments to achieve one goal. Because a variety of ideas will be put on the table, it’s much easier to develop ingenuity when there is more than one option. Good ideas give way to better ideas. Groups who collaborate tend to be more inventive and resourceful. Collaboration can also bring a certain unity to the decision-making process. Having more than one stakeholder ensures that team decisions will be reflective of all and not one, eliminating perceived bias. Lastly, a quick delivery of the product is likely to occur. Having several hands on deck is an automatic advantage when considering a collection of talent, skills, and intellect.
For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:
Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013
Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010
For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty, ANino@dcccd.edu, 972-238-6382.