Collaboration is working together, deeply and collectively, to reach a determined objective or goal. It seems like a great and profitable term. However, collaboration takes effort. Not only does it take effort but it is an active process.
In my master’s program years ago I always thought that group projects were worthless. It took more time to coordinate; find times that everyone could meet, review what needed to be done and designate deliverables. It seemed to me that working independently would have taken less time and would have been easier. This seems to be one of the barriers towards collaboration – an erroneous view. Collaboration takes time, it is harder and it requires humility. Despite the barriers though, being required to work together produced greater presentations and content than I could have achieved on my own. For me to write an executive summary and work on the financials in our class projects utilized my skills and years of experience. While others who were much more skilled in graphic design, which I could have done but it would have taken me quite a while, put together effortless and appealing visual presentations.
People have different weaknesses and strengths. Not to recognize and operate towards peoples strengths, even your own, creates barriers to doing business. We don’t have all the information, experience or training independently. Others have the training, experience or information that we need. It creates unnecessary hardships in doing business when people rely only on their own scopes and experiences rather than collaborating. When we don’t communicate and collaborate with each other it creates inefficiencies like duplicate efforts, time-consuming efforts, decrease in productivity, and reveals ineptness and pride.
In an article and study, Why Personal Interaction Drives Innovation and Collaboration, in Forbes, the importance of collaboration is further revealed:
“So many technologies allow us to collaborate “virtually” today. Email, instant messaging, video conferencing, and desktop sharing are common parts of the workday for many people. But regardless of what technologies we use, all of our interactions still rely on a basic element: each other. No matter how many shiny tools we have, we can’t get things done without other people.
Recently Cisco undertook a study of human behavior and the barriers to effective collaboration: how it affects productivity, workplace efficiency, and business results. This study showed without question that collaboration is grounded in human interaction and relationships. One participant even said: “We need to get back to the intimacy.”
We learned that people were more engaged when they could see and hear each other well, basically interacting the way humans have interacted for thousands of years: face to face. When personal meetings were not possible for our participants, they embraced technology, such as high-definition video conferencing, that most closely emulates human interactions.
We identified four key ingredients for successful collaboration, and they all rely on human behavior.
- Build relationships and networks that lead to trust
- Turn human interactions into results
- Balance decision-making and consensus building
- Evolve the culture for productive collaboration
Many participants in our study said collaboration made them feel “community oriented.” This led to shared ownership, which reduced the chance of territorial attitudes. Likewise, many organizations are exchanging ownership for collaboration in social movements today.”
When we choose not to collaborate, we are choosing in every way to limit ourselves and our business. When collaboration is chosen, then the way forward is boundless. Boundless advancement, success, growth, opportunities, ideas, help and achievement.
If you need help setting up technology or processes that will help create a culture of collaboration in your business please contact us at 301.960.0490. This is what we do. Our strength is helping facilitate and develop your technology and processes to help you excel in your business.