4 Tips to Create True Collaboration Within Your Company Culture

I worked with someone who repeatedly says “We’re going to collaborate on this.  Everyone in favor, hold up their hand.” 

Is that really collaboration? NO... Despite all the hype in businesses about the importance of people & departments collaborating, the majority of them function using competition.

Competition has its limitations & doesn't work well in the today’s world of uncertainty, low trust, and dwindling resources. Today, people have to change how they work.

Collaboration is when a shared interest or conflict that cannot be addressed by any single individual is addressed by team members in order to do, create, or invent something better or otherwise considered impossible. Collaboration is really looking at what is best for the organization.

Guess where this must start--with leaders who don’t just support using collaboration but actively encourage it by collaborating themselves.

Leaders, here are 4 tips to effectively collaborate:

Tip 1 - Set Group Expectations.  All of us are usually good at setting individual goals; but this is what “the group” (or the team) is going to achieve. Not just individuals.

Tip 2 - Define Collaborative Behavior. Once expectations are set in Tip 1, what behavior are you looking for when you talk about collaborating? This word can have many meanings – so how will you & everyone know when they are collaborating?

Tip 3 - Embrace Team Diversity.  I’m not talking about what you usually think when you hear the words “diversity”.  I’m talking about embracing personality differences. Are you aware that personality differences can make or break teams? You have to learn to understand & accept one another & what that person brings. Odds are that the guy that drives you & everyone else nuts is the person you need the most. 

Once everyone understands & accepts his/her own personality & those of other team members – you can move closer to collaboration.

Tip 4 - Provide Accountability through Feedback. As a leader, you need to observe individual & group behavior & then provide FEEDBACK. This helps guide team members through desired changes & help them enjoy the new culture. 

Many changes are happening in the modern workplace such as increased diversity, growing workloads, organization changes, and a global workforce.  This is why you must invest time & energy in your team’s culture.  While you can’t control external factors, you do have ability to directly influence how your team responds to these factors as you develop a positive team culture.