As a continuation from the first article on principles to drive effective collaborations, here are five more tips to strengthen your foundation.
Manage difficult trade-offs
Not everything works out as intended, not only in life but also in business. You need to have a provision of making compromises where necessary. These trade-offs may not be easy but will make all the difference in the way your organization collaborates.
Knowing when to make the trade-offs requires the leader to be informed and empowered because these decisions will change the course of the business. The good news is that collaboration provides the tools for the key decision makers to obtain the right information at the right time.
Exploit the rhythm of convergence and divergence
History repeats itself; meaning the organization experiences highs and lows almost at equal measures. For example, when initiating a telesales campaign, you start with a large number of prospects, but during the campaign, two things can happen:-
- Convergence – the number reduces to capture the real sales
- Divergence – developing more products to meet the needs of the customer
Look at the rhythms created over time in your organization. How do you gather information, sort it and later on develop it? You may be surprised at how that data will affect your decision-making.
Articulate and implement a few strict rules
Without rules, there is chaos, and this is especially true when there more than one party involved. With the understanding of what you want to achieve and how to go about it, you can articulate rules regarding the employee behavior. Each department needs to understand their roles and responsibilities, and what is acceptable and what is not.
For the organization to experience effective collaboration, do not leave the rules at the articulation stage; implement them. Also depending on your company policies, you can use rewards and punishments to enforce those rules.
Design flexible organizations that encourage the required collaboration
Without contradicting the above principle on articulating and implementing a few strict rules, you need to have a flexible company culture that will facilitate effective collaboration. Remember that your internal functions or dysfunctions, spill over to the external environment and vice versa. Therefore, you need to be attentive, adaptive and responsive to your environment.
Flexibility means that you can sense the shifts in the environment, can work together to respond to the changes, and the leaders decide what to do in real time. Collaboration makes all these possible and helps you deliver the best business results in the worst-case scenario situations.
Align support systems to endorse ownership
After working hard on the other nine principles, the glue that will make them stick is ownership. When everybody in the organization takes ownership of the process and the outcome thereof, achieving effective collaboration will be easy. They will share information at the right time, hold dialogues and make the right decisions for the betterment of the company.
Your core role in leadership is to align the support systems. Utilize the collaboration technology to promote ownership of the process. It should make life easy for the staff, not complicate things.
In summary, effective collaboration is a team’s effort, and these principles help to provide the guidelines and foundation for achieving that. Just to recap the ten principles are,
- Focus on business results
- Encourage high standards for information sharing,
- Align information and authority,
- Encourage accountability,
- Look at collaboration as competence,
- Manage difficult trade-offs,
- Exploit the rhythm of convergence and divergence,
- Articulate and implement a few strict rules,
- Design flexible organizations that encourage the required collaboration and
- Align support systems to endorse ownership.