I could start off by giving you a definition of Collaboration and what it is but by now that would be foolish. If your employees or teams are not collaborating, you’ve got some deeper issues than understanding what it is. The fact of the matter is that effective collaboration is essential for today’s workplace. Whether it is because we are playing in a global market or having to be bigger and better than our competition, collaboration is essential to your organization’s survival and being able to thrive. All work is dependent upon the ability to work jointly with others.
The question that I’d like to explore is what is the true value of collaboration? Are two heads really better than one? Isn’t it best to simply direct individuals to do good work and stay focused to bang out a result?
When I ask my clients if they think collaboration is a good thing to do – they immediately say “yes!” Then the answer isn’t as strong when I ask them “why?” Because the value of collaboration is complex and unique to each organization, to truly answer the question of value requires a stop and think moment. The value proposition should be relevant to the potential impact for that particular organization, division, team, and even at the individual level. At the root, the common answer is to produce amazing results. But again I ask, what does that really mean? What specific areas does your organization want (and need) to produce great results?
Most common areas would be:
- The Customer – When collaboration works well, the customer wins. They receive a better product, or service, or experience.
- Effectiveness and Efficiency – Your organization will be the recipient of better use of resources, which results in saving time and money. Better problem solving, decision making and improved processes also occur. The impact here can be huge!
- Employee Engagement – Employees that are deeply engaged significantly outperform those who are not. Employees are feel valued and appreciated will tirelessly work for the cause and do what it takes to make a difference.
- Innovation – Collaboration brings about creativity and innovation. When business units are committed to collaboration new ideas and products emerge. There are endless examples of how a small individual idea became grand by collaborating with others.
In today’s economy, collaboration is not just a “nice to have.” It is a matter of being an essential need.
Now knowing what you know, how good are you at creating effective collaboration around you? What could you be doing better or differently to achieve the greatest collaboration results?