In our previous blog “Collaboration.. a tool to achieve aspirations” we have discussed about the importance of collaboration and its definition in the view of an individual. But what makes collaboration complex? What can organizations and leaders do to instill collaboration? Lets explore!
What makes it so complex?
The complexity lies in the fact that individuals who do not know each other and who have their personal goals , come together to perform a common business in an organization. The extent of diversity in their skills, experiences, styles of working and the likely conflict each other’s individual goals makes collaboration tough to achieve and sustain. If you look at the scenario closely, the business environment is more prone to break collaboration than to induce it. Thus we have a scenario here where business needs collaboration to deliver customer service and individuals bring their diverse personal goals.
What can organizations and leaders do?
Since collaboration is a business necessity, organizations need to take measures to instill collaboration despite all the diverse individual needs. Some of the approaches that leaders in organizations adopt are:
1. Conducting team building events: This is the most widely used method, which may have instant impact but may not sustain.
2. Creating cross-functional groups: This is a powerful approach to bring together diverse people who otherwise may not come together to collaborate.
3. Team rewards: When designed well, team rewards create a ‘reason’ for individuals collaborate because they see that by winning together, the gain is for each individual as well. Thus reward binds the team together!
4. Job rotation: By moving people across functions, organizations create greater sensitivity and respect to each other. When I do not know what your job is, I may erroneously tend to overestimate what I do and underestimate what others do. Through job rotations, we can break this perception.
5. Knowledge sharing sessions: A quicker method to create mutual understanding is a structured knowledge-sharing session wherein each one shares about their job with others.
To deal with the complexity of collaboration, leaders play a very significant role. Without any external stimuli from leaders and organizational systems it is far too hard to expect individuals to collaborate!