Collaboration is vital for business success, and just how effectively your teams work together is massively influenced by the culture of your organisation. Culture isn’t just one aspect of your company; it is your company. So if you can shift your company’s cultural mindset to be more collaborative, you have the opportunity to benefit from the diverse knowledge, skills and expertise of all your employees, brought together with a shared goal.
Here are our four top tips for creating a collaborative culture:
1. Create a common purpose
Tracy De Groose spoke about a company’s mission statement being a brilliant and important way of facilitating collaboration. Whatever job roles your employees have, they all pull together for this one purpose. For example, Google's mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. At Microsoft, it is to enable people and businesses throughout the world to realise their full potential–a big ambition, but their employees massively and passionately believe in it.
- Create a shared goal and compelling vision to motivate people to collaborate.
- Instill positive interdependence –when individuals recognise that achieving their objectives is dependent on the activities of others, they collaborate because they want to achieve the shared purpose.
2. Empower your people
Many individuals are frustrated that they have to wait to be given permission to do things at work and therefore lack assertiveness and motivation to collaborate. So, it is becoming increasingly important for companies to encourage employees to take more responsibility and feel more ownership.
- Liberate staff to maximise their contributions–job titles and descriptions should not define people, or limit their prospects.
- Ensure there are high levels of assertiveness and cooperation on all teams to achieve collaboration.
- Offer direction, then take a step back and let your employees get on with it.
3. Build trust and offer freedom
If you want individuals to feel able to express opinions, which is imperative for collaboration, you must create a psychologically ‘safe environment to be brave’, as Tracy calls it.
- Get to know your staff, trust and support them to do their jobs, and embrace failures.
- Measure your employees on their results, not their hours. Offer flexible hours and working from home, and have faith that people will get their jobs done. This increases autonomy among staff. People such as Sir Richard Branson have even started to allow their staff to have unlimited holiday, trusting that they will only take holiday if they are 100% sure their team will still achieve all their objectives.
4. Reward and recognise results
In the past, recognition has been about individuals and often only happens once a year with an appraisal and pay rise. But the way employees are being rewarded is changing.
- Offer continuous feedback and praise – little and often, says Tracy – throughout the year. Everyone wants to feel valued and see their achievements noticed, which will in turn keep people engaged and improve performance.
- Celebrate collaborative behaviours and team results, not just the efforts of individuals.
At Lane4, we know culture has a huge impact on collaboration. If you look at the way your organisation works and start to follow some of the points above, then you will be going some way to fostering collaborative culture in order to achieve business success.