Collaboration is a way of energizing people to work and think together, it's the process of people thinking and working together to discover ways to solve problems; address complex issues; improve processes, procedures or systems; or invent new ones.
Benefits of Collaboration
Pooled knowledge consistently leads to better outcomes. In today's information era, sharing information is important because it leads to understanding and keeps you in the loop of what is happening. When problems are complex or just frustratingly difficult to solve, answers and breakthroughs are more likely to be discovered through a collaboration of diverse opinions, capabilities and perspectives. The process of collaboration can and often does transform conflicting points into common understanding and goals. In today's intimate business environment there are countless tasks that are somewhat beyond the capacity of one person alone, which can be better handled by the concentrated efforts of many. Additionally Collaboration will help improve production and product quality ( many can accomplish what one can not ) and collaboration frequently provides better results in a shorter time frame.
Sharing for Common Goals
Sole practitioners, entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders from all walks of life can benefit from learning how to cooperate with their peers to develop best practices. This need for sharing comes with our progress into the information age, where work increasingly requires the constant application of new knowledge. The idea of sharing, while intellectually sensible to all, is quite often a strain for those whose management practices are rotted in the industrial age. The business environment has changed and consequently attributions about sharing (collaboration) must also.
Guidelines for Collaboration
In general Collaboration has three simple rules …
- There must be shared space (physical place or environment)
- There must be common goals for collective effort
- The goals must drive towards a tangible results NOT just activity
For Collaboration to occur, people MUST be able to think, exchange and share thoughts and ideas with each other. Collaborations must be focused on achieving a specific conclusion a conclusion which MUST be measurable.
Collaboration is a process where today's leaders create a forum for people to provide input, ideas and suggestions. It's a process that provides leaders with the opportunity to encourage people to question to argu for innovation and continual improvement and to aggressively seek shared responsibility for overall success.
Collaboration will be most effective when there is Communication, Coordination and Cooperation. Communication is the cornerstone of Collaboration. When communication does not exist or there are mixed messages or unclear understanding, there will be poor coordination and cooperation towards achieving the task at hand. Coordination starts with practice for mastery of individual skills, skills such as selling, managing or resolving conflicts. Cooperation is the element of collaboration that gives its overall meaning. Successful outcomes stem for the complementary use of diverse talents and skills by two or more cooperators.
In a highly competitive, rapidly changing business environment the organization that understands and effectively promotes collaboration as a strategy for growth will always win out.