Building a culture of collaboration, and making team collaboration a habit is a tough process. Collaboration requires trust, and takes practice. Keep an eye out for these threats to collaboration - and if you run into them try these helpful hints to end these collaboration killers.
1. Lack of team spirit
The Situation: You've just had an hour long brainstorming session. The debate was heated, but now it's time to turn thought into action. However, one team member is still questioning things from the brainstorm, instead of helping the team get things done.
Teams need to be united around a shared set of goals, and a clear course of action in order to produce quality results on time. To help get the team back on track you need to set some ground rules for collaboration.
Rule #1: Agree on the appropriate time and place to discuss issues, and set a definite end to discussion. Once discussion is over, you should shift to getting the work done.
Rule #2: Deal with conflict directly when it happens. You should address conflicts in the meeting, or in a breakout with the disagreeing individuals. Usually, if someone is lacking team spirit they feel that they haven't been listened to, or they're too focused on a specific problem and not the big picture. Having an open conversation will help you figure out the problem and address it.
2. Focusing on problems not outcomes
Discussing problems can be counter productive. When you're focused on a problem, you divide the group into persecutors and victims. This behavior causes people to discuss the issue itself, and not solutions to the problem.
Don't get caught in the weeds - change the conversation to be outcome-based. Instead of asking about the problem, ask, "What do you think the first step in fixing this is?" or "What would the ideal solution look like?"
3. Holding back - or not telling the whole truth
When discussing solutions with your coworkers it's important to speak your mind. Holding back your opinion can create a divide between yourself and the team, and your viewpoint could help steer the team in a better direction. It's not that 100% of the time you have the right answer, but if you have any reservations it's best to address them with the group so when it's time to get things done, you're all on the same page .
This one is easy - just speak your mind. You'll want to keep your feedback outcome focused and constructive - some ways to do this would be to start thoughts with, "Have you considered the __________ of this plan?" or "Do you think _______ will cause _________" to help take off the edge . It's important to share concerns with your colleagues so they can be addressed and the team can move on to the next step comfortably.
4. Fragmented Tools & Communication
There's a lot to worry about when trying to build collaboration. You shouldn't have to think about your collaboration tools while using them - collaboration should be seamless. Between cloud file storage on Box and Dropbox, chat services like Slack and Hipchat, email either corporate or Gmail, MS Office and Google Docs - your information, and your teams are fragmented by technology. That's why Samepage keeps everything on one page that's easily accessed by anyone inside and outside of your team, on any device.
Don't let technology get in the way of your team's collaboration. Learn more about our free online collaboration tool.