Teamwork and collaboration are skills that don’t come naturally to most people and need to be learned and regularly practiced. Along with individual skills, it takes time for team members to forge an effective team, aligning themselves to similar work patterns and communicating effectively.
Not surprisingly, effective collaboration within a team has been proven to be one of the key drivers of successful project completion.
Susan L. Lauer is a Certified Business Coach Principal at Aspire Consulting. She recommends that the first step in creating an effective team is evaluating the strengths of each individual, then deciding how to build your team from the ground up in order to leverage each person’s unique capabilities.
She writes that being aware of the strengths, motivations, and behaviors of individual team members can help define better teams and promote in-team collaboration.
In order to facilitate successful project management and collaboration, many companies use project management software. Using these software tools allows teams to execute projects with a structured approach and stay on the same page from inception to completion. Effective use of project management software allows teams to better communicate through transparent channels of information exchange.
Collaboration and communication within a team are absolutely essential. Here are three ways to ensure your team is operating at its best:
Establish relations and set rules
According to Jeanne Meister, co-author of “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today,” the future of business will involve increasing levels of collaboration among diverse teams.
The success of a modern, established businesses depends on individuals coming together to form a team, and this starts with encouraging team members to talk with and get to know each other from day one.
The time spent forming effective relationships and establishing professional connections is critical for effective collaboration down the road.
One of the most essential requirements for a successful team is ensuring that everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities from the very beginning. This includes the team being aware of not only team responsibilities as a whole, but also those of each individual contributor.
One of the quickest ways to derail a project is to allow expectations to be murky; in a recent business survey, more than 97% of respondents surveyed stated that they believe lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of any given task or project.
You can help enhance team collaboration by creating and sharing a team charter. A team charter clearly lays out the purpose of the team, expected roles, and overall goals. This helps in unifying expectations among team members and avoiding any confusion.
Teams that know their expectations, roles, and responsibilities and are comfortable communicating with each other during regular day-to-day office interactions collaborate more effectively, which leads to better project success, more satisfaction among team members, and more profitability for your company.
Create a collaborative environment and prioritize feedback
Establishing understanding among team members is a continuous process. It is not enough to simply introduce team members on their first day and then take no active steps to encourage continued team development.
Better collaboration requires frequent and healthy communication among team members. This encourages the team to share issues and concerns quickly, provide constructive feedback, and to work in harmony with each other.
Activities that help team members relax with each other are important for better collaboration. This can be facilitated by creating a positive, fun-filled work environment.
Older schools of thought considered fun in the work place to be a distraction from productivity, but research has shown this to be untrue. A study by PGI revealed that teams that associated outside of formal meetings reported a 50% improvement in communication.
Team spirit can also be nurtured by leveraging social media. By 2020, 50% of the workforce will consist of millennials; this means that a significant portion of the workforce will be more tech-savvy than any previous generation, and these are the employees who grew up using social media in every aspect of their lives.
Stifling this natural extension of their work environment and private lives will serve only to stifle their productivity. Rather than attempting to fight something like social media, search for ways to channel these interests into methods which facilitate productivity at work.
Many companies use enterprise social network (ESN) or online project management software to promote communication and collaboration among teams.
Approximately, 70% of the 1,500 companies surveyed by McKinsey Global Institute have adopted ESN for data sharing and collaboration.
One example of effectively leveraging social media occurs in the arena of information access.
IDC found that the average knowledge worker spends 15% to 30% of their time looking for information; with the help of an ESN or project management software, the time spent looking for information was reduced from an average of 20% to 13%.
This increased productivity can directly translate to profitability on your bottom line.
Clarity of Purpose
Anant Mediratta, CEO & Founder of WiseCalvin, commenting on effective project management, said, “Get your team onto the same page, aiming for the same goal.”
It is important for your team to understand how the project and its outcome align with the overall success of the business. The first step towards this is making sure that the team is clear on the project’s goals and objectives and how their individual role ties into project success.
The second step consists of telling the team how successful project outcome aligns with the firm’s overall goals. This helps them understand their role in the overall function of the business and motivates them to work more efficiently and effectively because they can grasp how their individual contributions directly correlate to the big picture.
This motivation to give their best to the job translates into the team communicating and collaborating more frequently and effectively.
What would you recommend for better team collaboration?