Simply and fundamentally, the success of a business depends on what gets done by everyone–both the leaders and the employees. And nothing gets done if decisions aren’t made. Decisions are the stepping-stones to action. And no matter how brilliant a decision may be, it has marginal impact when the leaders and employees don’t support it.
Therefore, success depends on the number of great decisions made and supported by both leaders and employees. Companies depending on only a few decision makers and ho-hum support from their employees cannot compete over the long term. Developing, managing, improving, and leading an effective business means building both great decisions and great support. Productive collaboration does both. Collaboration can become the key business improvement strategy in your organization.
Employee and leadership teams do the work in organizations around the world today. Businesses realize that they need the range of ideas and the implied support that comes when a group works on a project together. These teams also include a wide variety of personalities, styles, needs, and agendas.
How to get this group of people to do good work is often a challenge. One frequent mantra for an improvement strategy is to “collaborate.” When a team says they will collaborate, it suggests that people are going to work together and hence make more progress.
Productive collaboration requires more than just putting people in the same room. In my experience just getting people together hasn’t helped all that much. Done poorly, collaboration builds half-baked ideas, half-heartedly supported by some of the team’s members. When productive collaboration isn’t taking place, there is too much noise or too much quiet, too much argument or too little discussion. Too much time is invested for such poor results.
Collaboration can be so much more than just assembling as a team to do work. Collaboration done well builds decisions better than anyone expected, supported enthusiastically by all of the team’s members. Opinions are substantiated by data. Goals are developed and documented by the team. The team generates, considers, selects, and implements its own decisions. There is lots of conversation, lots of wall charts, lots of productive learning. Team performance improves, and improved team morale follows quickly.
To learn more about collaboration, see Collaboration Skills
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