The world is moving too quickly; products and services are changing before our eyes every day.
The pace of life feels frantic.
We need to be able to collaborate.
If we don’t put our heads together and share ideas and viewpoints, we risk missing something essential in the blur of the hours racing by in any given day.
“If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb
Arment Dietrich works virtually, which means we don’t see one other face-to-face very often. But we do collaborate. More and more, these days, I find myself Skyping co-workers to ask for input and chatting online in social forums with people whose opinions have proven valuable during the past four years.
I need other minds and other perspectives.
You see, I fall in love with my ideas. And, I become blind to their imperfections. It takes the viewpoints of others to help me see the idea I have been flirting with just won’t work or needs adjustment.
Sometimes it takes the peals of laughter from my coworkers as I proudly introduce a fledgling scheme. Sometimes it’s the voices of reason from colleagues who have “been-there-done-that-and-it didn’t-work” or the boss pointing out the numbers, try as I might, won’t stretch THAT far.
Sometimes it’s the humor. Gallows humor for those tough client days. Silly humor for exhaustion and nerves stretched tight, vibrating like high-tensile wire. Pet humor, which makes me smile in the moment and cry later when I look around and realize my old lady dog really isn’t coming home this time.
Sometimes it’s the novelty of a thought process utterly different from my own.
We’re a small team, committed to providing effective integrated marketing communications, and to working virtually. We’re dedicated to building business and to working together, as well as staying attuned to the fast pace and changes of both online and offline worlds.
Do we struggle at times? Absolutely. But we reach out, using the tools technology makes possible, to connect and talk and laugh and share. That breaks down barriers and builds trust. We’re a social business.
Social business depends on effective internal collaboration.
Jamie Notter, co-author of Humanize, talks about the importance of internal collaboration today, describing the escalating need for people and departments to collaborate effectively. He predicts, as leaders start paying attention to the concept of “social business,” they will employ tools to improve internal collaboration.
He also expects they will over-rely on technology to solve problems highlighted by the process of internal collaboration. Notter cautions online tools won’t solve silo issues or resolve conflict. His point is well taken. So how do you foster effective internal collaboration in your organization? How do you break down the silos and create both trust and a flow of information?
Don’t let the technology blind you to the importance of building relationships with your colleagues. Understand you are dealing with other human beings who are juggling their own long lists of priorities. Jamie Notter advises getting people together face-to-face to address conflicts. Failing that, use online tools such as Skype that provide nearly face-to-face functionality, to address points of conflict, ask questions, and really listen to the answers.
Today’s crazy schedules make flexibility essential. Understand the demands of your co-workers. Be willing to be flexible in when and how you meet, what you ask of your colleagues, and your timeframe in getting their input.
Make it Reciprocal
Reciprocity is key. Collaboration requires give and take so understand your co-workers will need your help, your input, your honesty, and your patience. Be prepared to supply all of those ingredients and to be generous, with both time and attention, when asked to collaborate with a colleague.
Schedule Regular Sessions
Make sure you add regular collaboration sessions to your calendar. It’s all too easy to let time go by without meeting. Adding your collaboration sessions as regular events is critical. Schedule those as part of the daily, weekly, or monthly events you attend and then make sure you spend the time with your collaborators. Over time, relationships develop, foolish ideas are debunked, and excellent solutions created.
Don’t Leave Out the Humor
Like the lubricant that keeps moving parts of machinery functioning smoothly, humor serves to break tension, provide needed release, and refocus attention. Enjoy the laughter. Watch your internal collaboration sessions yield positive and effective results!
How are you using internal collaboration in your company? What other tips would you offer? Know any good jokes?