Based on the insights from our study, here are five ways you can take action today to facilitate more effective interaction and derive greater business value through collaboration.
1. Build relationships and networks that lead to trust. Invest time in building relationships. Get to know your colleagues, customers and partners on a more personal level. Provide tools and technologies that help people to not only connect, but also to learn more about each other. Grow your personal network and leverage it for new opportunities, connecting people and finding expertise. Spend time meeting face-to-face or leverage video and rich media technology to interact.
2. Turn human interactions into results
Provide an open and participatory atmosphere where people are comfortable contributing and feel more engaged. Teach people to become better collaborators. Set expectations upfront, engage the right people, and choose technologies and forums that promote participation. Bring the human element to the physical and virtual environment by creating a more casual and personal setting.
3. Evolve the culture for productive collaboration
Create a culture where collaboration is valued, modeled, and rewarded. Balance personal and social incentives with tangible rewards to reinforce positive collaborative behaviors. Encourage cultural sensitivity to work styles, holidays, and time zones among collaborators. Identify and leverage key individuals in the organization who excel at modeling collaborative behaviors. Develop collaborative leaders.
4. Balance decision-making and consensus building
Balance gathering input with the need to seek approvals because too much of either could translate into too many meetings, too much input, and may paralyze decision-making. Be clear about accountability and roles upfront, and agree to a decision making approach and criteria early in the process. Leverage communication and collaboration tools move efforts forward outside of meetings and in-between work sessions.
5. Leverage patterns of collaboration
Provide tools that move activities through the lifecycle of collaboration and help people think through, plan, and execute collaborative efforts. Create flexible physical and social environments that support the shifts in the collaboration needs of teams and individuals.