Reasons You May Find Collaboration Challenging

Please read the original post, published on E2.0Pros on June 10th, 2010

A recent study done by Elearning! and All Collaboration found that nearly 80% of executives surveyed said that collaboration was imperative to the future success of their company. This sounds like great news, right?

From the survey, only one-third of respondents who want to collaborate are able to do so in their organizations. And get this – survey respondents listed email as their most-used collaboration tool. This may be no surprise, because email has become the communication mainstay in business, allowing people to share and edit documents, providing a means of retaining work and progress. However, newer, more efficient tools have been developed, which hugely overpower the collaborative capacity of e-mail.

According to BusinessWeek, of those companies that deploy collaboration programs, 75% consider the program to be fair at best. There seems to be a disconnect between the “want” for collaboration and the actual “use” of collaboration in today’s business world.

With the tendency of companies to use e-mail (which was not designed for collaboration), it’s no wonder that many enterprises are performing poorly in collaboration despite millions or billions of dollars wasted every year. Business leaders are versed in the concept of collaboration, as are most professionals during the present times, however, a disconnect exists. Guess what? Emailing an idea to a bunch of team members, with the result that half of them lose that email in their over-stuffed inbox isn’t collaboration, nor is only a few people responding to the e-mail and the rest of the team not being allowed into the conversation.

Below are three of the reasons why your collaboration efforts may be sub-par.

Reason #1 – You’re scared

Yes, you know the benefits that collaboration can offer, but you are still wary of it. How much more effective can successful collaboration really be? Do we need collaboration to get by? Well, yes, yes you do, as stated in BusinessWeek and Elearning! Based on that nearly 80% who want to begin collaborating more, you’ll want to beat them to the punch to improve your businesses practices and your bottom line right away.

Goal: Develop fearlessness

Example: You just need to overcome those hurdles to collaboration. Understand that it will take some time to become as efficient as possible, and there will be a learning curve. But the outcomes are going to be so great that you’ll forget about the small challenge it was to get there. Leaders need to develop a collaborative vision and make some tough choices.

Reason #2 – You don’t know your options

“Collaboration” is kind of a big word, and can mean a lot of different things, including tools, techniques, training and processes. So how do you know what solution is right for you and your enterprise? You don’t – until you strategically develop greater understanding.

Goal: Educate yourself on the available tools, hire a consultant or researcher, experiment with new processes and tools

Example: Do some research on different collaboration techniques and online collaboration solutions to facilitate communication in your team. Try them yourself, make sure that they are easy to use and helpful. Money is not the issue, rather if the technology is of benefit. Allow others in your organization to test them out as well. Once you have a comparison of the tools and options available, you’ll be able to make an educated decision as to which solution can encourage effective and successful collaboration in your business.

Reason #3 – You haven’t accepted it

Even with the most advanced collaboration solution, tools do not make collaboration great. People make collaboration great. In order for the solution you chose to make collaboration great, you and your workers need to accept the collaboration concept in your corporate culture. It’s not enough to try collaborating on a few different items, or to test collaboration for a while and revert back to ineffective email for communication. You need to dive head first into collaboration and make the commitment to a better, more collaborative work environment in order to see the incredible results that can be achieved.

Goal: Collaboration Adoption

Example: Listen up, enterprise – you are going to have to make the big leap into collaboration and accept it into your corporate culture with open arms. What does this mean? It means communicating from top-down and bottom-up the powers of collaboration, creating new reward systems, changing performance reviews, encouraging team work, and walking the talk.

In summary, once you address these three topics, you’ll immediately see success. The 80% will personally thank you.

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