“No matter how fierce a dog is, it will never be efficient enough to guard two houses” – an African proverb.
Collaboration is not a new concept; since earlier times, the survival of man has always been due to help and togetherness. In workplaces, in schools, in organizations, and the homes, we all need to collaborate with others to achieve bigger things.
People need to understand that it is not always “about them” they need to learn that most times, teamwork is all we need to advance our collective purpose and goals. With collaborations, the collective efforts are usually greater than the total of the individual efforts. Partnering/collaboration led to the best things in our world today like the Beatles, the Wright brothers, Microsoft, Apple, the mission to the moon, and so on.
Good team players tend to innovate better and complete more tasks than a team that works as ‘solo groups.’ Even big corporations have to collaborate to achieve better results and increase productivity.
Simply, you can only achieve the best results with collaborations.
However, while we agree with the great benefits of collaboration in our daily lives, our organization, our work, and other areas, most people find it hard to work in groups. Here are simple ways you can teach people how to collaborate better while working.
Helpful tips for successful collaborations
Note that working in groups or a shared office doesn’t necessarily translate to effective collaborations. Far from the act of only working together, a successful collab is an art of having various inputs toward a collective goal.
- Set practical goals for the group
Let the members of the group know what you expect of them; this way, it is easier for everyone to play his part in the group. Once you set the goals of the group, members will get an image of their roles and actions in the group. Practical goals give the team a direction.
- Be explicit of the level of teamwork
Most people prefer to work alone, and some even work faster that way; but if you make it clear from the beginning that you expect nothing but collaboration from them, it will be easier for them to adjust. More than words, show them examples of why they need to cooperate and help every person understand their parts.
- Play to the strength of the team
When creating a team, make sure you assign team members proportionate to their qualities; this will equip them to perform better. Music band/group, for example, is not all singers/soprano artists; they have instrumentalists, songwriters, producers, rapper/tongue twisters, etc. This diversity is what makes them so solid, creative, and resourceful.
- Help team members to build better relationships
People can collaborate better when they know a bit about each other; people who share more of themselves usually have a deeper understanding that makes them more productive. Create avenues for team members to share some ‘relaxing’ and ‘bonding’ moments. Sharing these moments will help to foster trust and understanding. Bonding activities can include group hiking, sports competition amongst teams, inter-team race, and others.
- Be transparent with teams
When an issue arises, do not take sides or throw blames amongst team members. Instead, appraise the members as a team. Being honest with the whole team will help them understand that it was a general fault as a result of individual errors. A team mistake will always correct its mistakes within its team rather than amongst themselves.
- Hold regular meetings and hearings
Every team should have a ‘non-distant’ specific time they meet to discuss and address issues. Holding meetings at least once or twice a month will help to foster unity in the team. The frequency of the meetings will depend on the needs of the organization.
- Avoid too much of virtual platforms for collaborations
There is an electrifying aura that being in a place brings; the cologne, the body language, the facial expressions, and actions are inimitable with digital platforms.
While virtual platforms can help make the work less stressful, it is an inadequate way to foster unity or trust amongst team members. Person-to-person meetings are still more effective than the use of Emails or virtual presence.
- Do not neglect effective communication.
In any collaboration, it is better to over-communicate than to under-communicate. Effective communication is the bedrock of any successful collaboration. Team members should be able to get clear and comprehensive information from the upper hierarchies.
- Create rewards and incentives for great team efforts
Just like most sport, the top prizes are team prizes; every member of the team knows that he must do their job well not only for them but the team. It is the same with any organization; when there are incentives for achieving as a team, every member of the team will be in their best performance.
- Provide sufficient resources
To foster great collaborations, ensure that the resources available will be enough for each team member to operate at an optimal level. Insufficient resources will frustrate your team members and will also hamper their inputs in the team.
- Make the team flexible.
To build collaboration amongst a group, such a group must be flexible. Rigidity will hamper the ideas and performance of some members of the group, which will make it difficult for them to operate better. Any successful collaboration has to improve with times; it has to undergo necessary changes and has to allow new integrations, plug-ins, and ideas.
- Observe the best model and practices
Aside from getting the right tools for the job, equip each team member better; send them on training courses, seminars, workshops, etc. Also, grant them breaks and holidays in due time; this will allow members not to get frustrated or lose focus on the job.
Andrew Carnegie; a successful businessman and investor who once prowled the streets of Wall Street prized collaborations above anything, famously said: “Collaborations is the ability to work together toward a common vision. It is the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”