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“Collaboration is the best way to work. It’s the only way to work, really. Everyone’s there because they have a set of skills to offer across the board.” – Antony Starr, actor
People are the heart and center of every business. People working together and applying their individual experience and creativity to team and company goals will drive a business forward. Every interaction that takes place is an opportunity for change, growth, and innovation.
“Effective collaboration is about maximizing time, talent and tools to create value. The old way was the pass-along approach. I do my job and then pass along my work product to you.” – Evan Rosen, author The Culture of Collaboration
Effective teamwork is so valuable. It is the new competitive advantage, which all successful businesses have mastered. Leaders need to dedicate themselves to enabling their people. The result will be greater efficiency all around.
“Politeness is the poison of collaboration” – Edwin Land, cofounder of the Polaroid Corporation
People struggle to be honest and polite at the same time. It is challenging to be graceful about delivering negative feedback, but it is so important to address the negative along with the positive. When a company values transparency and honest communication, it allows collaboration to happen naturally. By rewarding honesty and making people feel safe, they can be their authentic selves without worrying about possible consequences.
“The purpose of life is to collaborate for a common cause; the problem is nobody seems to know what it is.” – Gerhard Gschwandtner CEO of Selling Power
It is so important to relentlessly communicate vision and goals because people who collaborate without understanding “why” waste precious time and energy. Leaders need to link everyday actions back to overall goals, so people understand their true purpose.
“Peering succeeds because it leverages self-organization—a style of production that works more effectively than hierarchical management for certain tasks.”― Don Tapscott, author Wikinomics
Whenever possible, allow people to work autonomously. When people are really in control of their work, they are more accountable and driven to perform. Within a team environment that is more flexible, people can discover their preferred work style. A style which allows them to be the most creative and productive.
“Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.” ― Marcia Conner, author The New Social Learning
Every time people come together to share ideas and tackle problems, growth and innovation can happen. Every problem a business encounters is an opportunity, but people must come together and ask the right questions in order to discover and exploit the opportunities that come along.
“The secret is to gang up on the problem, rather than each other.” — Thomas Stallkamp, Former Executive from Chrysler Corporation
Culture plays a huge role in employee moral. A collaborative culture takes the focus away from all the politics which tend to divide people, like job titles, seniority levels, and favoritism.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” — Andrew Carnegie, Scottish American Industrialist
Alignment within a complex business is not a random occurrence that happens out of chance or luck. It takes a lot of work to get the right people, working on the right projects, toward the right goals. But, it is worth the effort because alignment is a prerequisite for effective collaboration.
“After mutual respect and understanding are achieved, it is possible to establish real, sincere relationships, which is the foundation of a solid long-term collaboration.” ― Ron Garan, author The Orbital Perspective
Team building is a great way to bring people together to form stronger relationships. Activities which don’t focus on performance outcomes, help people open up so they can grow to understand each other on a deeper, more personal level.
“The organizations of the future will increasingly depend on the creativity of their members to survive. Great Groups offer a new model in which the leader is an equal among Titans. In a truly creative collaboration, work is pleasure, and the only rules and procedures are those that advance the common cause.” – Warren Bennis, author and American Scholar on Leadership
When structure is kept to a minimum, there is more freedom for creative energy to thrive. Some rules, policies, and procedures might be necessary to maintain accountability and order, but stipulations can get in they way and slow you down. We live in a fast-paced world and flat organizations are becoming more and more common, so try to be as flexible as possible.