As digital transformation drives high-speed change in organizations, many teams are getting left behind.
Without a collaborative culture in place, employees are not empowered or perhaps even able to speak up about new ideas or navigate periods of transition. Unfortunately, many organizations today find themselves operating in siloed teams, resulting in a lack of alignment and a critical hit on project outcomes.
In order to drive open, deliberate conversation and collaboration within and across teams, organizations must understand what collaboration culture is and why organizations have historically operated using siloed teams. Although the causes of uncollaborative work environments have changed over the years, many of the struggles organizations face are due to long held core beliefs at the heart of the company’s culture.
An organization may, for example, be struggling with a sense of competition among employees, micromanaging, or Once an organization’s leaders have an understanding of their team’s weaknesses when it comes to communication and collaboration, they can begin to take steps toward a path of transparency and transformation.
Unfortunately, the road to a collaborative culture is a long one.
In order to facilitate change and establish a collaborative culture, organizations must:
- Encourage and Facilitate Transparency
- Use the Right Tools
- Model Collaboration at Every Level
- Empower Employees
- Work with Teams
By facilitating transparency, teams will have a better understanding of what is expected of them and better alignment between teams around the same goals. Transparency may come in the form of setting KPIs, implementing OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and sharing both positive and negative news and information. A team that is aligned in their goals, successes, and struggles will better be able to use individual strengths and general best practices as a team to overcome problems and navigate change.
Just as collaboration is critical to keeping up with the rate of transformation driven by technology, using the right tools is critical to collaborating in today’s tech-driven world. While purchasing a collaboration tool will not solve an organization’s problems on its own, the right tools can enable employees in different locations to communicate, meet, build relationships and work on projects together. However, technology only enhances collaboration when all teams have access to the same resources. Otherwise, teams may become siloed once more by a discrepancy in information or available technology.
As the transformation into a collaborative culture requires change at the core of the organization, leaders play a key role in its development.
In order to build trust and encourage implementation of tools and approaches among employees, leaders must do as they preach. Teams will only adopt the recommended tools and methods of collaboration if they are able to see that they are actually being used at all levels of the organization to achieve positive results.
Leaders also need to create an environment that empowers their employees. This starts by not watching over team members’ every move, exercising oversight over every decision, or micromanaging. Empowering employees by giving them more autonomy over their work leads to faster turnaround with work and an environment in which employees are able to collaborate by sharing their ideas, questions, problems, and solutions.
Leaders can practice handing over autonomy to employees by:
- Delegating Managerial Tasks to Team Members
- Allowing Employees to Correct Their Own Mistakes
- Clearly Defining Roles and Responsibilities
- Investing in Training for Employees That Extends Beyond Their Roles
- Creating Clear Goals
Though building a collaborative culture at an organization takes a lot of time, energy and effort to achieve, it is the only way to stay ahead in this era of rapid digital transformation. Taking the first steps toward collaboration culture will lead to teams that share responsibility and ensure quality in the development of future products.