How do you structure collaboration? (+3 key characteristics)

In this article, we will be describing how you can structure collaboration in the workplace. We will also be looking at the various reasons why organizations are embracing collaboration and the different characteristics of a collaborative organization. Collaboration is a common term tossed around in organizations. However, it is not effective without a definite structure.

How do you structure collaboration?

Collaboration can be structured in an organization using the following steps:

  • Regularly conducting meetings
  • Make these meetings important and relevant
  • Create an outline for the meeting and set goals
  • Use the meeting as a platform for better productivity
  • Assign roles and give time for preparation
  • Assess the conclusions and follow-up

To collaborate effectively in an organization, team leaders and management need to follow a certain structure. This allows the collaboration to be implemented in an organized manner and can also encourage employees to participate actively.

Regularly conducting meetings

Regularly conducting meetings will help the team be in touch constantly with each other. It will also help in tracking the progress of the project. Regular meetings can help in reminding the team members about the expectations of the project and the importance of following the team values.

However, team leaders need to avoid having frequent meetings that can cut into the work time of the team members. Frequent meetings can also be perceived as annoying or wastes of time leading to lesser participation by team members.

Make these meetings important and relevant

Conducting frivolous meetings can bring down the participation of team members. While planning a meeting, the team leader needs to emphasize the importance of it and also bring relevance to the meeting. The event should be seen as a critical one, something that all team members will look forward to attending.

Create an outline for the meeting and set goals

As all things that need to be properly implemented, team meetings also should have strictly set goals. When there is a certain objective for the meeting, there will be an agenda or an outline which the team can follow. Having certain objectives for the team meetings can also be used to gauge the progress or the performance of the team.

Use the meeting as a platform for better productivity

Team meetings can be used as an excuse for many activities. By using team meetings as a platform, team leaders can help the employees re-align themselves to the project goals. It can also be used for team bonding activities or de-stressing activities, to help team members energize themselves. Team meetings can thus be used to boost productivity and efficiency.

Assign roles and give time for preparation

Assigning responsibilities to different team members can help in increasing participation levels. It can also help in creating an interesting atmosphere throughout the meeting. While assigning roles, team leaders need to keep both the shared goal as well as the individual goals in mind. It is also a good idea to encourage showcasing of other individual talents or strengths.

Assess the conclusions and follow-up

Once the meeting has been concluded, team leaders need to follow-up with the team members in order to make it a successful event. The conclusions and minutes of the meeting have to be shared with all the team members. This can then be used to prepare for the upcoming meeting.

Why are organizational structures embracing collaboration?

Since organizations are moving towards flatter structures, they are more and more realizing the importance of collaboration. Collaboration can not only flatten the hierarchies in a traditional organization, but can also make the organization itself highly effective. Some of the reasons why organizational structures are embracing collaboration are explained below:

Organizations can adapt to change better

Through structured collaboration, organizations can adapt to various changes better. Since the business world is always developing and undergoing changes, a collaborative environment helps employees react to these changes at a faster rate. This means the organization develops more which also translates to business profits.

Collaboration encourages creativity

Collaborative environments encourage employees to bring out their creative side. Since collaboration itself works in an environment that is judgement-free and is open, employees are free to express their opinions and suggestions. This kind of environment also helps employees bring these creative ideas to life with the help and support of these co-collaborators.

Collaboration attracts millennials

Millennials are going to make up 75% of the workforce by the year 2025. These employees will flock to organizations that have attractive packages as well as employee friendly atmospheres. A collaborative organization with the right tools and mechanisms can be relatable to the young millennial employee.

New technology requires more collaboration

Since organizations are becoming more tech-driven, they require an environment that promotes the learning and usage of new technology. Digital technology and tools always require a lot of collaboration in order to be effectively used. Thus, managers are leaning towards a collaborative structure to better integrate technology in their work processes.

Characteristics of a collaborative organization

A collaborative organization can have the following characteristics:

It has a flat structure

An organization that implements effective collaboration allows better network. In this organization, there is more communication and interaction between different levels and functionalities. Since there is no strict hierarchy, the various teams in the organization can work closely together to achieve the organizational goals.

It has an open and honest environment

Collaboration fosters an open and honest environment. When there is more transparency, we can see employees being more accountable in completing their tasks. This kind of environment is seen in collaborative organizations. When there is openness and honesty practiced by all employees, we can also see better problem-solving and work efficiency.

It has highly engaged employees

In these types of organizations, the employees are highly engaged at work. The team leaders assign tasks and roles very carefully, ensuring the work will be done without grumbling and resentment. Since the team members know each other very well, they can take up tasks that are more suitable for their skill sets and personas. This creates an engaging and fun environment.

Conclusion

In this article, we have described how you can structure collaboration in the workplace. We have also looked at the various reasons why organizations are embracing collaboration and the different characteristics of a collaborative organization.

Frequently asked questions: (How do you structure collaboration?)

How to structure and motivate your team to be more collaborative?

Though collaboration is necessary in the workplace, not all team members embrace this wholly. It is up to the team leaders and managers to foster collaboration in the team. You can motivate your team to be more collaborative using the following tips:

Clarifying roles

Team leaders need to assign clear roles to the team members. When the roles themselves are not clearly understood by the team members, they cannot fulfill their responsibilities astutely. Team leaders should also be clever in handing out the roles and assigning tasks. They need to align the individual tasks with the individual goals of the team member.

Creating a positive mindset

Collaboration can only occur if the team members are positive and supportive. However, a positive mindset does not come easily. Team leaders and management have to extensively practice positivity and motivation daily. This can be demonstrated during tasks, meetings, breaks, off-site excursions, etc.

Offering support

To collaborate effectively, team members need to be supported and motivated. Team leaders should also encourage team members to support and encourage each other. Support can be offered during tasks and also while hurdles are being faced. When team members feel supported, the team itself becomes successful.

Following through on promises

Team leaders need to follow through on their promises and keep up their end of the bargain. When a team leader fails to do so, it can create mistrust and resentment among the team members. However, team members tend to admire and be loyal to a leader who does not break promises. This can lead to better collaboration as well as more employee satisfaction.

Valuing team members

Collaboration requires the active participation of each team member. And these members will only participate if they feel valued. Team leaders need to make each employee feel like a strong asset to the organization. They also need to be highlighted for their individual strengths and talents. This feeling can lead to more efforts for collaboration among the team.

Using team-building activities

Team-building exercises and activities don’t only build team cohesion, but can also lead to better collaboration. While implementing team activities, managers should be careful to employ the right activities. If the wrong or inappropriate exercise is used, it can seriously backfire.

What is a business collaboration?

A business collaboration is a partnership between two or more business organizations. The usual aim of this type of collaboration is to increase business profits. They can also be used to bring up new ideas and suggestions, find solutions for problems and create new products and innovations.

A business collaboration, however, can only flourish if there is open and honest communication between the collaborators. Business collaborations can also be internal or external. Internal business collaboration refers to intra-organizational collaboration while external collaboration uses people or businesses outside a specific organization.

What are collaboration skills?

Collaboration skills are used to work better in a group. They help teams collaborate effectively in order to accomplish goals. Examples of collaboration skills are:

  • Communication and interaction skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Adaptability
  • Role acceptance
  • Empathy
  • Listening skills
  • Knowledge and expertise
  • Willingness to share

What is the primary purpose of collaboration?

The primary purpose of collaboration is to promote teamwork among a group of individuals in order to achieve a common goal. Collaboration is becoming increasingly used in business organizations for the purposes of increased profits, seamless work processes and better employee satisfaction. In order to be effective, collaboration has to be implemented from the top down.

What is a collaborative decision?

A collaborative decision is one that is made by a group. In a collaborative decision making process, all the individuals in a group actively and equally participate. It requires an environment that does not judge and allows free expression of suggestions and ideas. Collaborative decision making encourages ownership and accountability in work processes.

Citations

https://blog.trello.com/how-to-structure-motivate-team-to-be-more-collaborative
https://www.cornerstoneondemand.com/resources/blogs/why-organizational-structures-are-moving-towards-collaboration/
https://hbr.org/2011/07/building-a-collaborative-enterprise
https://community.aiim.org/blogs/angela-ashenden/2013/04/16/what-is-a-collaborative-organisation-anyway
https://blog.trello.com/how-to-structure-motivate-team-to-be-more-collaborative
https://www.ringcentral.com/us/en/blog/collaboration-in-the-workplace/

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