What is Effective Collaboration?


Take the case of rowing team in the Olympics-

“Each participant is strong to row the boat but the team that acts in tandem wins the race”.

In sports, it is the synchronized performance on the field that yields the result. Similarly, in organizations competent individuals are required to work in tandem and must share the purpose of the task while being adaptive in order to accomplish the assigned tasks.  This, in fact, is a very simple example of team collaboration.

In businesses as well we have situations where several sub-units or departments are required to come together. It is the teamwork of the supreme level assisted by technological advancements, usage of software platforms and cloud-based programs, determines the success or failure of efforts done by the team.

As per Wikipedia, “Collaboration refers abstractly to all processes wherein people work together.”

So, how does Collaboration become effective? 

Collaboration is much more than teamwork. It is about bringing all the individuals over the same platform and arming them with the required information, seeking their different perspectives and then arriving at a mutually convincing solution.

Collective thinking enables organizations to create a pool of ideas which can solve problems, bring out new product ideas and may open altogether newer horizons of business expansion. Such processes provide a free environment that encourages participation from all the involved members.

The shared purpose and equal participation from all members-

It is developed when competent individuals see the value created while working together. While a collaborative environment can never be forced, organizations strive to develop a conducive work culture that brings people together. It is also about sharing a meaningful reason to work together and ensure that every member benefits from the work. Members must leave their mutual issues and differences and participate together to achieve their goals.

Effective use of the correct technology-

“From a technology perspective, the enterprise collaboration platform must make it easy for an individual to access and share information with other experts. This collaboration technology architecture incorporates mobility, security, synchronous and asynchronous communication, personalization, community, team spaces, borderless networks, and rich interactions ― and we will likely create additional functionality that will evolve over time.”-Ms. Padmashree Warrior

In organizations with larger employee base, leaders must play the role of change agents and adapt to newer technologies that subordinates may follow. This creates a mutual trust and allows the information to trickle down easily. Above all, technology should let employees voice their opinions and express their ideas for the betterment of the organization.

So, what benefits do organizations reap in the process?

  1. Enables organization to effectively use employee capabilities

A big task, when broken into sub-tasks and assigned to individuals or groups, gets completed faster. Division of work is made easy and the task is segregated according to the competence and expertise of individuals.

  1. Solves problem faster

An employee struggling with a problem pertaining to a task may get a solution or a new perspective much quicker than coping with it individually. Working in a collaborative environment enhances organization’s responsiveness towards solving an issue and problem sharing gets a big boost.

  1.  Helps develop employee skills

With the rising recruitment and training costs, organizations are looking for novel ways to attract, train and retain talent. Collaborative work environment allows the organization to build a strong culture and transform it into a learning organization.

The knowledge and skill transfer between a superior and a subordinate or even between peers is facilitated by collaborative technology which makes collaboration a proven training tool. It fosters creativity and learning.

  1. Facilitates reviewing the employees’ strength and performance

A collaborative interaction helps HR manager gauge the skill set of employees in an unbiased environment and also the roadmap for succession planning and growth course for individuals.

It also provides a window to assess the strengths and weaknesses of individuals which further helps  in creating effective skill development programs.

  1.  Provides a sense of job satisfaction and contribution to the employees

Employees feel good when their views, opinions and suggestions get noticed and executed.

Further, employees are more likely to stay longer in jobs when they have stronger bonding with other team members and feel they are the part of something important. The process is immensely effective in building trust among employees.

The key ingredient that facilitates collaboration is the constant communication channel that enables seamless interaction. Conscious efforts in the correct direction allow the organization to surpass the competition and achieve their goals.

It is all about bringing together the employees to achieve common goal/ goals effectively and this, like the five fingers of our hand works in unity and  a perfect co-ordination.