by Pola Henderson
In my previous article for Management 3.0, I talked about digital transformation and the new era of management: more digital, distributed, and collaborative. These changes had been bubbling under the surface in many workplaces, especially technology companies, long before the coronavirus. However, the pandemic has accelerated the switch to remote and hybrid work models and with that, the importance of efficient team collaboration. No matter where your team members connect from.
It would seem obvious that the very notion of having a team means collaboration. On the surface, yes, but let’s take a moment to reflect. How many of you can say that the collaboration is flawless? That you never have to wait for information from others to finish your projects? Or that at times you could use some input, but you’re afraid to ask for help, for fear of appearing incompetent?
The new era of management incorporates next-gen online collaboration tools like Kantree. At the same time, it calls for a new approach to running teams, based on trust, transparency and flexibility, self-management, and a dose of empathy. When these values are embraced by management and passed on to the rest of the company, real change can happen. So can true collaboration and long-term success. When employees feel invested in their work and know that they can tap into the collective intelligence of their team at any time, without feeling guilty or self-conscious, they will deliver better results (and likely stay on the job longer).
What makes me so sure? Our company has been operating as a worker cooperative (called SCOP in France), since its founding in 2015. Without giving up ownership, we have been able to run a profitable business and create sustainable employment for the whole team. It’s been possible thanks to company-wide collaboration. I don’t just mean collaboration between sales and marketing, developers and client services, and other obvious pairings. I mean the whole Kantree team coming together at times to share experiences and ideas, and make collective decisions. For example, we meet once a month to discuss our content marketing strategy. While I am in charge of day-to-day content management, I realize that in order to optimize our editorial efforts, I need input from all departments.
Oftentimes, the best content ideas come from talking to software developers or those who are in client-facing roles. Without them, I wouldn’t have the same level of knowledge about our product and customer needs. This approach is not limited to small businesses or the tech industry. In fact, any modern company can benefit from increased knowledge sharing among teams.
To try this in your company, start by organizing cross team meetings (casual lunches, meetups etc.), where networking and idea exchange can take place There are numerous benefits of team collaboration, on both the business and human level.
Here are the three main ones – all of them combined will help drive your business forward, like they’ve done for our company.
#1: ENGAGEMENT: Creating a positive and open work environment where employees feel valued and more invested in their work.
#2: SKILL: Encouraging continuous learning and improvement, which leads to better outcomes and a highly-trained, competitive workforce.
#3: INNOVATION: Innovation in terms of products and services offered to customers, which further increases the competitiveness of your company. (See these guidelines for innovation management)
Fostering team collaboration will allow you to fully benefit from the skill and knowledge of your team, eliminate bottlenecks in your work processes, and stay competitive in the post-pandemic, global marketplace.