How to Build a Collaborative Team to Build Better Products
Most significant projects are not undertaken by just one individual; They require a team effort to conceptualize, strategize, and successfully manage tasks so that a stellar product can emerge. Even activities that may seem like a personal endeavor almost always require some form of collaboration.
Collaboration brings together a diverse group of talents and minds all focused on achieving a common goal. Working within a collaborative team provides you with the assets needed to reach your project goals faster while creating a more dependable end product.
Aligning Your Goals
Selecting the right team is a crucial component in creating a successful team. You should bring in individuals who have fully developed skills, such as motivational, organizational, and imagination, to be utilized fully for the creation of a value-added product.
It’s also important to assemble your team with members who are aligned with the goals of the project. Establish the ground rules and pass along clear guidelines for how your collaborative process will operate. Only after everyone is on the same page, can you continue with the process and work towards the common goal of solving the task at hand.
In establishing the rules early and by clearly defining goals, team members can join knowing they can freely offer ideas and provide feedback that ultimately contributes to a successful product.
The enemy of collaboration is roadblocks. A roadblock typically occurs when employees don’t see eye-to-eye on specific aspects of a project. Anytime you get multiple personalities together in a room, there is generally some level of disagreement. However, limiting the differences to just that, and not letting them evolve into animosity or open conflict, is key to preventing time-wasting roadblocks. For collaboration to happen, a leader must emerge that has the strength to enforce it.
Finding a way to foster strong employee relationships helps reduce friction and leads to a more fruitful collaboration effort on behalf of the entire team. Building trust between all team members assists in driving initiatives such as floating ideas, facilitating change, meeting milestones, and fostering in-depth collaboration.
Writers get “writer’s block,” professional athletes fall into slumps, and employees sometimes suffer a creative block. Falling into a creative slump is frustrating and a waste of time. Collaboration can help solve the issue by getting a fresh set of eyes on incomplete work, followed by team input and suggestions that help get those creative juices flowing again.
The goal of most projects is to produce the best end-product for your customer. Whether that customer is internal or external, is immaterial. Through collaboration, you can harness the skills and ideas of many to propose, critique, and ultimately solve the problems that prevent the best product from emerging.
With strong leadership, and by keeping your team members looped into the progress of your project, you can eliminate conflicts, reduce overlap, and foster the creative instincts of your team members to produce fabulous results.
Tools such as Dropbox, Slack, or Google Docs help keep all your team members on the same page and engaged in the effort. By promoting open conversation and critique, you will gain the trust of your team while receiving an honest review of your efforts.
Setting Up For Success
A critical factor in creating a successful collaborative effort is nurturing the environment that fosters a culture of collaboration. Here are some factors that can help you define and promote a culture of cooperation.
Lay down the law – setting up ground rules for all employees, even if not part of a team, sends a message that the company promotes and welcomes collaboration. Established practices, protocols, and guidelines will demonstrate your willingness to facilitate cooperation and empowers individuals to lead those efforts as part of a team
Become a leader – nothing motivates better than leadership. Leadership starts at the top, with the executive committee, and trickles down to employees through all levels of management. By clearly defining your leadership role and empowering employees and team members to also embrace leadership roles, you’ll convince employees that they can openly share ideas that contribute to not only the growth of the company but to their personal growth, as well.
Open communication – through efficient communication, collaborative teams prosper. Whether its holding team meetings or sending out updates and group emails, transparent and open communication are critical to a collaborative culture. Providing an organized structure with collaborative tools to your teams will also help spur information sharing across platforms and between team members and supporting departments.
Building trust – open communication fosters a certain level of confidence, but your employees must also trust their ideas and critiques. Empowering employees to conceptualize and present new ideas will build trust in leadership and better facilitate a more open and constructive collaborative effort.
Collaboration not only provides an excellent strategy to produce the best products possible, but it offers employees a chance to shine. With a culture of collaboration, employees will feel more comfortable participating and contributing new ideas, suggestions, and the motivation to bring their very best.
With the right leadership structure in place, open communication, and team members that clearly understand their defined roles, your collaborative effort will lead to a faster and more successful effort to develop the best possible final product.
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