workplace collaboration

5 Ways to Help a Culture of Collaboration Grow

Hard skills are essential when you go into business because they illustrate to people that you are qualified to provide a product or service to them.

Hard skills allow you to create a business.

But it is your soft skills that will help you make that business successful. Soft skills bring the customers to your door.

Traditionally in corporate America, however, soft skills have been consistently undervalued, and in many organizations there are huge soft skill gaps. The problem is visible when you have any organization that is able to get great clients (they have admirable hard skills), but they can’t keep them (they lack soft skills).

Currently the hottest soft skill in demand is collaboration, which is when two or more people are able to peacefully and respectfully share ideas and thoughts to achieve the common purpose of the corporate goals. Collaboration is kind of like teamwork on steroids.

It blasts through egos and office politics and comes out the other side where people can get together and brainstorm for creative solutions to their problems. It allows for equal participation on projects, and allows the company to access what is best about the skills and strengths of its employees.

It helps companies solve problems and be far more innovative and efficient than those that operate without collaboration.

On an individual level, an atmosphere of collaboration also helps spur employee engagement, job satisfaction and employee retention.

In fact, Mark Murphy, in his book “Hire for Attitude,” suggests that 46 percent of new hires fail within the first year and a half on the job. Of that percentage, 89 percent fail because of problems associated with attitude.

The best businesses are built on collaboration. That’s because when employees can work together at the highest level, their areas of expertise and ideas are openly shared and innovative solutions appear faster.

As former American basketball player and businessman Michael Jordan puts it: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

If you want your company to achieve maximum success, collaboration is the most vital attitude to cultivate. But how can you achieve that?

Here are 5 ways to ensure that you help a culture of collaboration grow within your company or organization:

  1. Define your intent clearly and set realistic goals. people work better together when they are all clear on what the end game plan is. They need to know what they need to do and why. Goals that are attainable, and that are broken down into realistic milestones grease the wheels of collaborative attitudes. Make sure you re-evaluate your goals frequently to ensure that you are still heading in the right direction to reach your destination.
  2. Foster a non-judgmental attitude. People are more likely to contribute fully and openly when they sense that their opinions are respected. If what they say is mocked or sneered at, they will be very loathe to offer their insight the next time. Nurture the idea that all input is valuable and that you really want to know what is on the minds of your team members.
  3. Take the time to allow your team members to get to know each other. Collaboration is much easier when co-workers have achieved a level of comfort with each other. This comes from the sharing of little things about each other, being aware of each other’s unique skill-sets, and respecting each person’s roles on the team.
  4. When you want people to collaborate, try to keep them together for key meetings, rather than pulling out one or two to report. Being in the loop and feeling an individual stake in a project completion is a key component of collaborative work.
  5. Play to the strengths of each of your team members by assigning tasks that they are more likely to excel at. Proceed consistently with this so that each team member can reasonably assume when they are asked to join a team that they will be working in the area of their skill and knowledge foundation.

 

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