There are various types of organisations ,but all of them are trying to do the same thing. Be in sync with the latest trends of “working” so that they can achieve more with less. The style of working has undergone a drastic change. It is no more limited to the workstation. Businesses are figuring out newer ways to reach out to their customers and this requires employees to work more collaboratively.
Collaboration is not really a new concept. Teamwork is integral to any work that involves more than two people. But it was collaborative teamwork that actually triggered innovation in every aspect of business. And so, the time has finally come where most businesses are trying to innovate the very “framework” of collaboration that holds the key to change.
So, you go ahead and take advantage of the collaboration buzz by adopting a tool. Now what?
A tool can be what it is built to be – A tool. It is not a magic wand which can do everything. It makes the “doing” part easier and more effective. Here is our take on “how-to” adopt a collaborative tool successfully:
1) Collaborative Behaviour – Although teamwork is not new to people, unfortunately not all team members enjoy it. The same rule applies to collaboration. To help the collaboration tool make a serious impact on the bottomline, outline the guidelines for collaborative behaviour. If it’s a change driven with top-down approach, there is a higher chance of employees internalising collaborative behaviour.
2) What does the tool do for YOU? – Any tool addresses roles, processes, metrics and workplace culture. Identify what elements of your work dynamics is being addressed using the tool. Clarity of what purpose the tool serves, keeps time consuming dilemmas out of your system.
3) Define the problems – Don’t just ask the employees to start using the collaboration tool after giving them guidelines and clarity of purpose. Bring out the context of why they need to use the tool by pointing to “real business problems”. Ex – co-authoring a document, managing multiple inputs in building a proposal, brainstorming around an idea, etc.
4) Do what you say – Demonstrate the value of collaborative tool by mirroring the behaviour that will result in value. Ensure that the top management and team leadership starts using the tool to show how it is “done” rather than “tell” how it should be done.
5) Build the culture – Confront the mental blocks which stop some employees from adopting the tool as a habit. Ex – An employee who is not comfortable with taking feedback from everyone might approach the team leader saying – Can I mail you the document for comments than putting it in a collaborative group and taking inputs from the entire group?.
In this case, the tool cannot function effectively because of a mental block. The removal of this block will pave the way forward for a collaborative culture.
6) Measure the results- Track the performance of the team and recognise the efforts which impacted the bottomline. Reinforce the desired behaviour for a successful collaboration by first highlighting what worked positively for the business. Measure your results and highlight the outcome of channelizing collective intelligence.
Unlike what most organisations would like to believe, a tool is not an end in itself. It is a great means to a greater end. Share your experiences of implementing a great tool in the comments below: