If the popular 90s one-hit wonder, Vanilla Ice, taught us anything, it’s that we should all stop, collaborate and listen. All right, joking aside I know how cliché it is to quote this particular tune when talking about collaboration. And honestly, the song has very little to do with collaborating with anyone. Seriously, all the guy talks about is himself, his ability to write a song and how he gets attention from the ladies. However, a new study found that when it comes to workplace collaboration, meaning is what drives successful teamwork. Don’t get me wrong, I love the tune as much as the next person, but it has nowhere near the amount of depth your organization’s collaboration strategy should.Stop! Successful workplace #collaboration needs clear purpose: Click To Tweet
Productive vs. Unproductive Collabs
The Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College collaborated (heh) on research that involved more than 1,100 companies in hopes of finding the difference between productive and unproductive collaboration. Two-thirds of the participating companies hold collaboration as an organizational value.
The study found that what set successful workplace collaboration apart was purpose. Organizations who use purposeful workplace collaboration are deliberate in achieving collaborative behavior. Open communication and teamwork are a part of everything from the environment in which work occurs to how projects are managed.
Purposeful Workplace Collaboration
Easier said than done, right? Luckily, there are actionable strategies to establish purpose, such as:
- Focus on goal creation and alignment. Work with your employees and department leads to pinpoint overarching objectives of their roles. Revisit and update them frequently and be sure your team isn’t overloaded by tasks. Employees who have too many deadlines and not enough time will default back to chipping away at a to-do list instead of inviting others in for ideation.
- Create business transparency. Develop clear goals and begin connecting your employees’ work to one another. For example, connect the work of a content creator to the marketing team’s lead generation funnel. That will connect to the sales team’s goals and so on. Everyone in the company can see how even an hour of their time affects the company’s success. No one’s job is small.
- Recognize and reward. There’s no doubt people like to see rewards for their work. Find ways to reward for collaborative efforts on an individual and team scale. Create a goal and a company- or department-wide reward for hitting that mark. The common desire to achieve the goal will drive collaboration.
Benefits of Collaborating
The most basic benefit of collaborating is that teams generally achieve more creative and innovative results. Check out the video below by our partners at ClearCompany (@ClearCompany) to see even more statistics.
But I’m Introverted
Workplaces are (or at least should be) filled with diverse personalities. Some people thrive on teamwork while it sends others running for the hills. We have both types at Red Branch Media, which is exactly what inspired Kristine’s cartoon, Collaboration Cheerleader or Collaboration Zombie Slayer. Check it out! And yes, there is actual advice for those who are not so collaboratively-inclined.