Working as a team can be a difficult feat to achieve for any business, especially when it involves bringing together people who don’t normally do so. Some employees excel at the experience while others fear it with a vengeance.
When team collaboration is necessary to get the job done, you need everyone onboard, and this means helping the staff that struggles with the concept. There may be varying personalities on your team or people that barely know each other. Gaining a reluctant acceptance to participate can be a definite challenge for your business.
To help you identify some ways that you can improve team collaboration, six members of YEC Next share below how to successfully bring to the same table any team members who don’t usually work together, in order to enhance your business operations and productivity.
1. Inspire Innovation
One way we improve team collaboration is by hosting quarterly “Team Innovations” where we allow each member of our team to present an original idea for our team or clients. From there, a few members of the team select the winning idea that we then put into action. This fun activity helps us come together as an agency and gives members of the team the chance to share their ideas without any constraints such as budget, creative, etc., and work with all departments in the process. –Stephanie Cartin, Socialfly
2. Keep Individuals Organized
It may sound counterintuitive, but strong leadership is key to improving collaboration. A Harvard Business Review article entitled “Why Group Brainstorming is a Waste of Time” rightly asserts that brainstorming is ineffective. The most effective way for a team to collaborate is to have a strong leader who assigns the team to individually develop ideas and bring them back to the group; who effectively runs meetings with agendas to develop paths forward; who determines the various strengths in the group and assigns specific tasks, with specific deadlines and holds the people accountable. A collaborative environment is a natural end result of strong leadership. – Ryan Meghdies, Tastic Marketing
3. Ask Them To Tell Their Story
I run a software development company, and I often bring in new members to the team. Although we don’t all know each other, telling our stories allows us to understand each person’s “why.” When we share these stories, we are able to have more empathy for the other person and understand their journey. I find this really powerful, especially in the world of web design and development. Our work in technology is all about storytelling. We’re creating a journey and an experience for our users. Before we start building this “story,” we need to understand each other’s story. It’s very powerful! – Uchechi Kalu Jacobson, Linking Arts Web Design & Development (Linking Art
4. Implement Effective Task Management
The key to successful team collaboration is implementing an effective system that manages the tasks and projects that your team is to accomplish. Optimally, this would also include a place to store data such as a calendar, documents, and chat functionality. Look at products such as Wrike, Asana, or, my personal favorite, Basecamp. We implemented Basecamp at the end of 2017 and have seen huge improvements in communication and productivity, especially with our remote workers. By getting everyone working within the same framework, we have noticed significant improvements in keeping our employees on task, our managers up to date, and our clients happy. –Frank Bravata, Cyber Brigade
5. Encourage Open Communication
Our company was created with the intention of encouraging better relationships of all kinds, so to improve teamwork and collaboration, we took advantage of technology. First, we encourage all employees to take the MBTI assessment on our website to understand each other better. Then, we utilize Slack to get the conversations going, because people tend to be a little more forthcoming with a computer than in person, initially. Finally, a meeting is made with a set agenda so that clear items are discussed and ideas are worked off of. –Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
6. Align Their Interests
The best way to get people to work together is to align their interests and help them understand the value of each other’s work. A lot of it has to do with communication. Tell people how everyone’s work contributes to the fulfillment of the larger goal. Help them see a situation from a new perspective when appropriate. And make sure there are clear deliverables, expectations and responsibilities. –Shan Rizvi, Just Ads International AB