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In his new book, The Collaborative Organization, Jacob Morgan shares his ideas about why collaboration is important within most businesses, and how to create a collaborative work environment. Lest you mistakenly assume that this is only an enterprise-level concern, Main Street businesses have many of the same concerns large businesses have in this regard—they might just have a simpler communication infrastructure to deal with.
One of the things that Morgan mentioned that really resonated with me was making sure you understand the “why” before you implement any collaboration approach. Most of the time, the companies he consult with suggest that implementing a collaboration strategy is often reactionary. Employees suggest that they aren’t happy with the level of communication, the organization reacts with a collaboration initiative, but it isn’t considered much beyond that.
Morgan suggests before you implement any approach or tools you should:
- Look at case studies and find a use case that is similar to yours
- Determine what the potential benefits of a collaboration approach would be for your organization
- Identify the use case and business drivers that are motivating your effort
He suggests that you should look at how employees work and communicate together now, and see if there are collaboration tools that will help them be more efficient and effective. I found it interesting that many times, it’s the employees who are suggesting there’s a problem and are asking for a solution. I’m a firm believer that those closest to the work understand it the best and want to do a great job. We just need to make sure they have the tools they need to do it.
In a recent research project they conducted, Morgan’s company Chess Media Group, asked, “Is solving a business problem or achieving a business objective of as much benefit as showing a positive ROI?” 73 percent of the business leaders they asked, answered yes.
Additionally, Morgan suggests that a good collaboration strategy makes the world a better place. By making it easier for your employees to communicate it reduces stress —which translates into the workplace (and their personal lives) in a number of very positive ways. Not the least of which is creating an environment where employees can feel more connected and passionate about what they do and how it relates to the success of your business.
What are you doing to encourage more collaboration within your organization?