Writing to Win: COLLABORATION, the Second ‘C’ in Success
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
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