A culture of lone performers in your company could be impeding success. Here’s how to foster real collaboration for better results.
One of the toughest leadership challenges is being able to bring people together to work effectively. Nurturing a collaborative culture is one of the biggest tests of leadership ability. In fact, online tools and platforms created to foster collaboration have proliferated more than ever.
Here are a few simple things you can do to encourage collaboration and increase company productivity:
1. Select participants for collaboration
Collaboration can be a powerful thing, but don’t simply throw people together and expect to get results. Consider carefully the experience, skills and personality of the people you are bringing together for a project or goal. Do you want like-minded people in a group or ones with varying experience?
2. Set good boundaries for contribution
Working in a group where responsibilities are unclear and contributions are unequal will only result in chaos. It is important to set out clear expectations and deliverables for everyone. Create deadlines and consequences if group members don’t comply or allow others to speak up if group members don’t pull their weight.
3. Reward open, direct communication
If you’re working with a bunch of smart people, not allowing or encouraging them to speak their mind is a waste of valuable resources. Encourage people to drop quiet politeness and speak up. Creative conflict can be a powerful thing when people are willing to be challenged in their ideas. Then make sure open communication is rewarded.
4. Establish a strong bank of shared resources
Part of collaboration is ensuring that everyone has equal access to a bank of good resources when needed, such as training materials, research or a robust base of contacts. The last is particularly important. Converting new contacts to leads is a vital part of effective business and is the thing every business aims for.
Investing in an effective business contact management service such as Sansan could be a valuable asset for your company, allowing the business to quickly integrate new contacts into its database. For Sansan, particularly because the service is hosted on the cloud, it can be easily shared throughout the business. Knowing when, and how, your colleagues have dealt with a person in the past can help shape how you deal with them in your next meeting. It could be the difference between winning new business and losing it.
In short, good collaboration is cultivated and, most times, not a matter of chance. How have you been fostering collaboration in your company? Share with us.