Creating a Culture of Collaboration

Why is collaboration so important to the workplace? Collaboration drives high performance, according to research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity, which shows that companies who promote collaboration are five times as likely to be high-performing than their counterparts. In this course, Lisa Bodell, CEO of FutureThink helps you think of a few ideas to drive collaboration in your company.

You can start forming ideas by identifying collaboration role models with people in your organization. Get a mix of leaders and employees together and ask them to bring examples of collaborative projects and the actions or traits that made them successful. Communicate these qualities across the entire organization to align your employees on what collaboration looks like in your company.

Understand your team’s individual underlying motivations for collaboration. People are willing to collaborate when there is a personal connection or common interest involved, or they see an otherwise compelling reason to collaborate.

Help your teams overcome their barriers to collaboration by engaging in a discussion about it. Talk about why something is a barrier. This feedback will help you generate solutions to the main barriers. Keep working out solutions with your employees to the main barriers and then, implement those changes or get buy-in from someone who can.

We are inclined to say “no” to projects from other teams in the organization at times. Instead of saying “no,” practice considering alternative approaches by saying “yes, if…” because the phrase encourages people to think in terms of solutions, not problems. Instead of saying “No, we don’t have the bandwidth for that,” say, “Yes, if we eliminate another project to free up time.”  By embracing “yes, if…” we transform idea evaluation into a collaborative activity.

Incentivize your employees to collaborate. As research grows about the value of collaboration, it is essential that companies find ways to incentivize and reward collaborative behaviors. Think of what kinds of rewards would best reflect your company culture and motivate teamwork, then work with your HR and PR teams on the best way to communicate that reward program company-wide.

Committing an organization to collaboration starts at the top. So ask yourself three questions. What three activities can you start doing today to be more collaborative? As an influencer in your organization, what three daily actions will you take to encourage collaborative behavior from other employees? What three collaborative accomplishments will you help the organization achieve a year from now? Teams do well when their leaders demonstrate collaborative behaviors. 

Once you know what keeps your teams from collaborating, what motivation they would have to collaborate, and how to incentivize collaboration, you have the tools you need to shift collaboration from a word into a company practice.

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