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We’ve all heard the adage, “TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More.” Well, it’s as true today in the workplace as it was in your elementary school. Collaboration puts each team member’s collective wisdom and lens to good use–and allows creativity to flourish. It can be a struggle getting everyone to feel comfortable enough to contribute, though. Luckily, there a few quick fixes for offices wanting to overcome collaboration challenges.
An article from Forbes stresses the importance of creating the time and space for interaction: “Provide opportunities for team members to interact with one another and with other parts of the organization in order to develop relationships that are the bedrock of collaboration.” A separate room with a whiteboard can be the perfect opportunity to bring people–and ideas–together. And if you don’t have the luxury of a separate room, space division furniture can help delineate an area for collaboration.
A common collaboration challenge can be the Introvert Versus Extrovert Dilemma. Often, the extrovert will steamroll the conversation and the introvert doesn’t get the opportunity to express his ideas. On an even deeper level, our willingness or aversion to speaking up can be traced back to our ancestors. The Forbes article referenced above also stated, “With collaboration, for example, there are two basic instincts that are automatically triggered under different circumstances: hoarding and sharing.”
Having a space where each member can see the ideation process is absolutely essential for collaboration. When one person is the gatekeeper with a single sheet of paper, it can be difficult for everyone to chime in. However, a whiteboard in the room can even the playing field and make it so each member’s voice can be heard. That being said, whiteboards can be great for those reluctant to contribute to a brainstorm. With it being able to be wiped away, some are more willing to pitch in. (Introverts rejoice!)
An article from Slack lists a great suggestion to allow collaboration to happen by employees being acutely aware of roles: “Make responsibilities clear. Make it absolutely clear (and posted!) who is doing what, and when. Visible, updated organization charts can help achieve this. An internal wiki of shared company knowledge (e.g., who approves budgets) can be a major timesaver.”
A common theme of promoting collaboration is making sure everyone is on the same page–whether it’s with information being shared, the end goal or deliverable, or even just the capability to play a part in the discussion.