IT Best Practices

3 Lessons for Collaboration

Modern-day IT now has the keys to the kingdom as far as collaboration goes. There are countless tools out there that can greatly benefit any organization, but nice tools alone won’t get you far. In an article for Computerworld, Thornton May gives three lessons on collaboration to make the most out of working with others:

  • The power of collaboration can’t be tapped without a desire to collaborate.
  • Understand your collaboration tool.
  • Listen to everyone in your collaboration network.

Collaboration: You Need to Want It

Collaboration in general requires the desire to work with others to achieve a result. If you don’t want to collaborate, you aren’t going to succeed. Taking other perspectives into consideration requires taking a step back and understanding that their insights will ultimately be to your benefit. This desire to collaborate can’t just be on an individual level, but must become pervasive throughout the workforce as a whole.

Understanding technology requires two important components: how and where to use it. Acquiring the proper tools means having a proper understanding of the extent to which you’re using it, similar to the way you wouldn’t buy a car for just the radio. But as May points out, trouble arises in how to go about teaching these skills to someone:

There is the question of how long it takes someone new to a given collaboration technology to become facile in its use. This in turn gives rise to a second-order assessment: Is it more effective to train existing employees on how to use the technology or hire new employees who already know how to use the technology?

I’m talking about adding staff who understand collaboration and can impart its benefits to your experienced employees. Moving to a more collaborative style requires a cultural change; it’s not something that is absorbed in a quick training session.

Listening to everyone in your collaboration network may seem like a no-brainer, but there are some factors that may be affecting it. May highlights the hidden factor of “groupthink,” which is when a group of individuals maintains the status quo of their in-group and reinforces uniformity even when it’s to the detriment of the group as a whole. This can lead to devastating results as the critical perspective is severely dulled by the compliance of its members. The solution here is to ensure that alternative viewpoints get a say and that they aren’t hushed by cultural compliance.

You can view the original article here:

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