17 July 2014 | Karthik Hemmanur
Look behind any successful project and you’ll find a team that’s deeply collaborative.
It’s been said that the mere presence of others often pushes us to do our best, and psychologists call this the ‘social facilitation effect’. I strongly believe in the power of collaboration and always drive teams to achieve results collectively.
So how can you be more collaborative? Here are my 10 tips:
• Establish a common goal and an outcome. Before embarking on a big project, clearly identify and write down common goals in a mission statement that everyone agrees upon and is excited about. It’s also helpful to take note of the intended outcome of the project, and make sure the entire team sees the outcome as valuable.
• Audit your current collaboration tools. A great place to start is by making a list of people you collaborate with, and what mediums you use for exchanging information – and keep in mind that ‘tools’ don’t necessarily mean technology. Sometimes dropping by someone’s office just might get the job done.
• Instil good communication habits. Lay down a set of rules to encourage effective communication. It’s important to be open and controversial, but be sure to make it known that passive aggressive comments and personal remarks are not acceptable.
• Collaboration is constant. While meetings are a great way to bring everyone into the same room, it’s important for your team to understand that collaboration does not stop when the meeting ends. It’s a process that happens day in and day out.
• Monitor progress frequently. Holding a weekly ‘all hands on deck’ meeting can bring everyone together and help you identify issues that are holding back progress and come up with strategic ways to manage issues.
• Involve a diverse group of stakeholders. Recruit and involve people with a multitude of social, cultural, and cognitive differences on your team. The ability to think about a problem from several angles can lead to huge benefits for the team.
• Recognise, reward and celebrate collaborative behaviour. Attach performance standards and bonuses to collaborative efforts to send a strong message about the values of your team.
• Admire skills and abilities of fellow teammates. Understanding each other’s value addition and working style drives respect and that in turn drives open and honest collaboration.
• Hold regular social activities to build trust among team members. Along with respect, reliance on each other’s integrity, strength, and ability enables us to freely communicate our ideas and concerns with each other.
• Aim for small steps rather than giant leaps. Look at your current process and identify quick and easy wins that provide significant benefits in little time. Don’t make the effort harder than it needs to be.
☛ Karthik Hemmanur is a product manager at Noosh