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Cheat Sheet: Seven Tips to Collaborate Better

From the experts | Posted on March 10, 2014 by Erika Van Noort

Collaboration. There’s a million ways to do it, and a million ways to fail. Here are seven simple strategies to jumpstart your collaboration strategy and ensure your labors are fruitful.

1. Define the objectives

Every good collaboration strategy starts by defining the “what”. You need to have a clear idea of what you are hoping to achieve from the business perspective. Most importantly, you’ve got to be able to measure and quantify those goals.

2. Build a team with the right skill-sets

Every collaboration team needs to include people that add to the success of the project. An IT voice is an obvious requirement. Every team should also include at least one business voice. Other parties such as HR — or, in some cases, external experts such as Softchoice — are often crucial as well. To know who to bring in, identify areas where you lack experience and ask peers who’ve done it before.

3. Plan as a team

Make sure you cultivate all of the ideas from the team when you are determining steps/tactics. There is no point in collaborating to collaborate if you aren’t going to actually listen to the diverse ideas and tactics being offered up.

4. Stay focused on the objectives

You’ve defined success. Now you need to make sure you are headed in the right direction. Continually tie decisions back to objectives. Always make sure the approach supports the objectives.

5. Monitor performance transparently

Make sure to celebrate the wins, as well as point out where the strategy is going awry. This will boost your team’s effectiveness and allow people to focus and repeat what is working.

6. Recognize when to pivot

Don’t be afraid to pivot when it seems objectives aren’t being met. Engage the team in adjusting course as required.

7. Don’t forget to lead

Even though collaboration is about harnessing the power of the team, you must avoid “management by committee.” While consensus is valued it is not an absolute. As the leader of a collaborative team you still may need to reconcile differences and lead.

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