Much is made about collaboration. It’s not just a buzzword. It’s extremely important in many parts of business, and while collaboration can be found in every business to some degree, it can be more of a challenge for the small business. Today, we’ll take a look at what constitutes successful collaboration, and how your organization can go about improving your collaborative capabilities.
It’s not a secret that departmental cooperation is increasingly central to the workflows of today. Businesses need to stay agile, which means more has to be done with less. As more people take on more responsibilities, there needs to be better communication and, ultimately, trust if a business’ goals are going to be met. This has businesses of all sizes looking for tools that will help their staff be more collaborative, more efficient and meet those benchmarks that will allow for organizational growth.
Obstacles to Collaboration
It seems ironic that a strategy that most businesses need to foster is actually getting harder to achieve. Today’s workforce is different in many ways, but one of the most glaring weaknesses of the modern workforce is that their needs supersede that of the organization they work for. This is not wrong per say, but it can be a major problem for smaller organizations that need collaborative initiatives to fuel their products and services. With the gig economy growing rapidly and the cost benefits of hiring contract and outsourced workers, it makes it harder than ever to get a staff of people on the same page.
There are several more barriers to collaboration, including:
- Differences in opinion
- Lack of respect and/or trust
- Internal competition
- Lack of solid project management
When you’re asking people to work with others for a common goal, personalities can get in the way. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be some semblance of professionalism and workplace decorum, but the truth is that some people just don’t like working with other people. If you’re running a small business, petty squabbles are unacceptable and can really hurt your chances of success.
It is important that every member of a team knows exactly what is expected of them, but it’s the decision makers that need to understand who works well with who and what type of collaboration to use. There are three different types of positive workplace collaboration. They are:
- Simple collaboration: The most basic form of collaboration. This is your typical information and document sharing. If someone needs an answer, someone else provides it.
- Document collaboration: Document collaboration is a significant step because it means that people are actually working together on a single document toward a common goal. Giving multiple users the capability to work as though they were side-by-side without regard to the actual distance between them is not being integrated into many software platforms nowadays.
- Structured collaboration: This is the type of collaboration in which people need to work together to complete a predefined goal. If they aren’t able to work together, there will be no product or service. Essentially, anyone that has worked on a project with someone else has taken part in a structured collaboration.
Collaboration and Technology
Most businesses use technology to bridge the gap between departments, teams and employees. Technology is making it more possible than ever to collaborate, and many of a business’ technology investments are made with collaboration in mind. The idea is that if employees are expected to use centralized management software like a customer relationship management (CRM) tool or a document management and storage system like Microsoft SharePoint, that all the information and resources are then available from one place, making collaborative work more possible.
Today, there is new software that simplifies the process. Software like Microsoft Teams and Slack are designed simply as an instant messaging-fueled forum that integrates with many of the major CRMs and other management solutions, creating a central hub to speed up communication and collaboration. These applications allow teams to be more agile and more productive.
Collaboration is a huge part of doing business in the information age. If you want to learn more about how technology can fuel your business’ productivity, reach out to the IT experts at Advisors Tech today at 844.671.6071.