This blogpost will aim to describe the various ways you can use collaboration. We shall also be explaining the various steps to follow for successful collaboration. In addition, we shall be discussing the reasons why collaboration is important for an organization. Collaboration is gaining increasing importance as organizations are becoming more globalized now than ever.
How do you use collaboration?
Collaboration, in an organization, can be used in the following ways:
- Open collaboration using a large group
- Closed collaboration within a small group
- Cross-functional collaboration across functionalities
- Cross-cultural collaboration between diversities
- Virtual collaboration across time zones
Collaboration in the workplace has many benefits, including better productivity and employee retention. Thus, collaboration helps an organization grow successfully. The various ways in which collaboration can be used are explained in this section.
Open collaboration using a large group
Here, collaboration can be used to generate ideas and suggestions using a large group of individuals. People from both inside and outside an organization can be invited to brainstorm and give their ideas. This allows a wide range of opinions to be given. The organization can then choose suggestions that are more favorable and build on them.
Closed collaboration within a small group
In this, collaboration is used to solve a specific problem in an organization. Since it is something specific, only a small group of individuals with a particular knowledge base or expertise are gathered together. This collaboration allows problems to be solved with efficiency and speed. This kind of collaborative group might also enjoy certain autonomy to speed the process up.
Cross-functional collaboration across functionalities
This kind of collaboration requires communication and interaction between different departments and functionalities. Here, individuals with varying job functions collaborate together in order to achieve a specific goal. Cross-functional collaboration allows more knowledge transfer and expertise in a group, thus leading to better problem-solving and work efficiency.
Cross-cultural collaboration between diversities
In this method, collaboration is used to bring various cultural backgrounds and diversities together. This can improve the learning process and also lead to creative products or campaigns. Cross-cultural collaboration can also lead to better understanding in a team and develops emotional intelligence skills.
Virtual collaboration across time zones
This collaboration involves team members who are located in different geographical locations. Since the pandemic, remote working has become popular both among employees and organizations. Virtual collaboration uses digital collaboration tools in order to help employees complete and track tasks, manage projects and attend meetings all from their own homes.
Steps for successful collaboration
For a successful collaboration, the process has to be implemented carefully and properly. Organizations can use the following steps in order to ensure a successful collaboration:
Clearly defining goals
In order to implement successful collaboration, there should be a clear role and purpose for the team members. A shared purpose is the primary element that brings all the team members together. Team leaders can not only create a shared purpose but also individual goals. This will not only lead to a better workflow but also increase accountability.
Selecting the type of collaboration
Once the purpose of the group is specified, the next step is to choose the type of collaboration. Since collaboration can be used in different ways, the team leader needs to choose the right type which will allow efficiency and productivity. Based on the purpose, team leaders can choose open or closed collaborations.
Bringing the right individuals together
After the goal has been specified and the type of collaboration has been chosen, team leaders need to bring the right people together. Before collaboration can begin actively, the team members have to be enlightened about the benefits of collaboration and the role they will be playing in the process.
Demonstrating collaboration from the top down
Effective collaboration is a process and can take time and effort. The best way to ensure all the team members follow collaboration is to advocate it strongly through the leaders. When the managers demonstrate collaborative practices in their daily work lives, the team members also follow it actively.
This can happen when the managers create a positive environment, one of trust and openness. It also means initiating regular communication and understanding between employees. Collaborative practices can also include encouraging creativity, respecting and understanding diversity as well as sharing responsibilities.
Why is collaboration important for an organization?
Many research studies have shown the importance and essentiality of collaboration for an organization’s success. In this section, we will be looking at a few reasons why organizations need successful collaboration.
It makes organizations single functional units
Collaboration brings people together and helps them work as a unit. When organizations have people working in silos, there is less communication between levels and departments. This can lead to communication gaps and conflicts within the organization. However, when teams collaborate, they work in unison while increasing profits for the company.
It allows better knowledge transfers
Collaboration allows individuals with varying skill sets and expertise to come together. Since there is interdependence in the team, more knowledge is shared between the members. It also allows members to share their experiences and bring new perspectives to the team. Thus, collaboration makes an organization a learning organization which is highly successful.
Problems are solved quicker and better
Problems are no strangers to an organization. However, collaboration can make problem solving easier for teams. In a collaborative environment, suggestions and opinions are welcomed at any time. This can help teams spot problem areas early and solve them right there and then. Collaborative teams also bring new perspectives, which leads to better problem-solving.
Collaboration leads to more creative thinking
Collaboration helps businesses organizations create new products and better campaigns. A team which collaborates effectively can generate plenty of new ideas and plans. These ideas are brought to life by the team members, leading to meaningful and successful projects.
It makes happier employees
Research has shown that collaboration can lead to higher levels of happiness and motivation in employees. Workers have also mentioned that they stayed longer in organizations that implemented effective collaborative practices.
This blogpost has described the various ways you can use collaboration. We have also explained the various steps to follow for successful collaboration. In addition, we have discussed the reasons why collaboration is important for an organization.
Frequently asked questions: (How do you use collaboration?)
What are the 3 most important skills for teamwork and collaboration?
Science has shown that working in a team makes employees happier and also aides in boosting productivity. Thus, more and more organizations are hiring candidates who have great collaborative skills. The three most important skills for teamwork and collaboration are explained as follows:
High self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses
When team members are self-aware of their positives and negatives, they can work in a team better. It will also help them take up appropriate tasks and know where to draw the line. High self-awareness can also lead to better emotional intelligence, which is essential for working with individuals from varying backgrounds and perspectives.
Great tolerance and understanding
To work in a team, an individual needs to have a good amount of tolerance. Tolerance is important as not every team member will share the same opinion and might have contrasting perspectives to a matter. Team members also need to be understanding, especially while working in a diverse group. This can allow them to appreciate differences and look past them.
Trust and honesty
When there is no trust between the members of a team, they will not collaborate effectively together. Team leaders need to trust the team members otherwise it can lead to unnecessary micromanagement. Team members also need to trust the leaders that they will lead the team in the right manner and keep their promises.
What are the six collaborative behaviors?
The six important collaborative behaviors are:
Communication between team members
Communication is essential for collaboration. Without communication, collaboration cannot occur in a team. For effective collaboration in a team, the communication should be open and honest. It should be simple enough for all members to understand while being effective enough to drive the right message across.
Open-mindedness to new ideas
Those who are working in a collaborative environment should be open to new ideas and suggestions at any given point in time. When individuals with different skill sets and perspectives collaborate, they can generate new ideas for different issues. However, only when all the members collaborate open-mindedly can these ideas be brought to life.
Organization and time-management
Collaboration also requires great organizational and time management skills. This is to ensure the workload is shared appropriately and tasks are delegated accordingly. Good organization in collaboration can ensure the right employee engagement allowing a smoother workflow and better productivity.
Looking at the bigger picture
When team members are working only toward short-term goals, then the collaboration implemented will not be effective. However, when team members are working towards a long-term goal, they will collaborate more intensely. Team leaders should make sure the team goals themselves are meaningful and relatable to the team members to foster a long-term collaboration.
Ability to accept change
Collaboration brings a lot of change in the organization. It also requires the team members to be open to change. Projects can also take many different turns in their process and conflicts may arise in the workplace. For this, the team members need to have the skill of adaptability which will help them face any kind of challenge in the workplace with ease.
Even though collaboration encourages team members to work effectively together, it also requires healthy debate and discussion. Employees need to be assertive enough to demonstrate their skills openly and give their suggestions and opinions to the team. They should also be knowledgeable enough to defend their suggestions while being respectful simultaneously.
What are the types of collaboration?
The four types of collaboration that can be used in business organizations are:
- Team collaboration that requires team members to work closely together in order to achieve a specific goal. This is used mostly in business organizations to improve productivity and work efficiency.
- Video collaboration that allows team members placed in different locations to communicate and interact via video calling or video conferencing. This collaboration is used by organizations to hold meetings while cutting costs and also reaching across geographical boundaries.
- Network collaboration which is semiformal and allows those who have a shared interest to interact with each other. This allows career growth and knowledge transfer between the different members in the network.
- Cloud collaboration which allows better project management and data sharing. This solves the challenges of remote working while also improving document sharing and task completion.
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