A workplace is only ever as successful as the team behind it. While strong leadership can provide a good foundation for success, it’s in building strong teams that you really get things done.
How can workplaces build stronger teams? By using a collaborative approach.
In PwC’s report, Workforce of the future: The competing forces shaping 2030, you’ll find four different ‘worlds’ that are shaping the future of work as we look out over the next ten years:
The Red World: Where digitization and innovation reign supreme
The Blue World: Seeing a further rise in massive corporations
The Green World: A world characterized by social conscience
The Yellow World: Where people come first and community rules
It’s this last world that PwC mentions that can help build stronger teams within organizations: the human aspect, aided by technological advances that can help us to collaborate better.
Communication and collaboration go hand in hand
Before we step into the details of a collaborative approach, it’s worth noting that communication needs to be smooth and easy within a team before optimal collaboration can occur.
If you need a step in the right direction when it comes to better internal communication, whether it’s in teams or over your organization as a whole, then take a look at our guide: 23 Home Truths About Clear Internal Communications, to see where you can make changes to benefit your organization.
How does better collaboration breed stronger teams?
While there are plenty of tasks that need to be accomplished on solo employee time, it’s not always the most optimal way to achieve other tasks.
Better avenues for team collaboration will build a tight network that helps one another, raises each other up, and, perhaps most importantly, trusts one another.
Google’s five keys to a successful team, compiled after extensive internal research, reveal the following are necessary for a team’s success:
Structure and clarity
These first three are impossible without a collaborative approach.
How can businesses help teams collaborate better?
Collaboration starts from the top
Collaborative leadership promotes collaborative teams. This means C-suite and managers who aren’t used to being on the ground need to get out there and do it: give an invitation for co-creation, or sound a call for help from employees. Lorna Davis’ TED Talk, A Guide to Collaborative Leadership, speaks of radical interdependence for leaders and is essential viewing for highers up.
Your ‘brand’ of teams will be unique
All organizations are different, work differently; even if they are direct competitors of the same size, in the same market. Just like your workplace has a specific organizational culture, with a written or unwritten set of visions and values, so too should this culture extend to the way in which teams are organized, managed, and fostered, for optimal collaboration within your workplace.
Let people know their roles and responsibilities within a team
Sure, people are aware of their job title, but how about their roles and responsibilities as part of the team? This isn’t necessarily task-wise either. These may be responsibilities like speaking up if you think there is an issue with a decision being made, suggesting new ways or methods of operating better as a team, practising empathy when others aren’t pulling their weight and trying to get to the root cause instead, etc.
Think mini-community instead of team
You may already have teams within your organization: a sales team, a retail area team, an admin team - but are they really just thrown together and some teams work well and others don’t? Creating teams as mini-communities will bring the best results. This means hiring for team fit, equality between team members (even with a manager present), having formal or informal mentors within groups, or working pairs that swap often, and addressing issues before they simmer over. Personalities need to work in harmony or be taught to work together.
A team is not an island
Collaboration within teams is important for strength, while inter-team collaboration within an organization gives an extra boost. Encouraging and creating working groups or social groups that go beyond team boundaries can enhance knowledge-sharing and camaraderie across team boundaries. Hold a quiz day, put on a play, start an innovation lab for new ideas - there are limitless possibilities.
Leverage (the right) technology within teams
While having a good old chat in the meeting room and brainstorming on the whiteboard is still a good collaborative exercise, it’s not always possible or the most effective use of everyone on the team’s time. If we go back to the very beginning of our article - The Red World: Where digitization and innovation reign supreme - we can apply this approach to collaborative teamwork, by leveraging the right technology for collaboration.
CentricMinds is an innovative digital platform for superior collaboration
While plenty of companies use tools like Slack or Trello for digital collaboration, CentricMinds goes beyond this, as an all-in-one digital workplace platform. There’s Workspaces, for team collaboration; a modern intranet solution for news-sharing and commenting across the organization; Team apps for on-the-go comms; a Document Management System that’s lightning-fast and features version control, tagging, mentions and more; plus Enterprise Social Media and other features.
While you need solid team foundations, processes, and culture for team collaboration to run freely and easily, to really optimize and document what’s happening, a modern collaboration platform is essential.