Shortly after I arrived in Australia to play soccer for a NSW team, I was put on the bench to get used to the way things worked. However, when the centre-forward was injured, I was called to play. Unprepared – I didn’t even know my team-mates’ names – I floundered, unused to their signals and roles. I couldn’t communicate with my colleagues and I very publicly failed.
There’s nothing like failed collaboration to demonstrate why working together is important. When collaboration works, it usually goes unnoticed, but when it fails, everybody knows it. The lesson I learned the hard way on the sports field applies equally in business. There are three types of collaboration:
To kick business goals, all these types or phases of collaboration are needed.
As I learned in my soccer game, just putting together a group of people is no guarantee of success, no matter how skilled each individual may be. Every strong leader, whether in sports, business, or any other aspect of life, must bring together six key facets of teamwork:
There are many apps available to support collaboration, but without team training, it may be the best piece of technology you never use. Collaboration is all about engaging with people, so ensuring they are confident in using your chosen app is key.
If you Google collaboration technology, you’ll find many different applications. Among those we’ve worked with recently, a project for the Federal Department of Finance stands out. They needed to replace an aging collaboration tool. With Microsoft technology already in play, Microsoft Teams was a logical choice, allowing collaboration with internal and external teams. Along with security, the features and functionality, such as integrated SharePoint and OneNote, helped to meet users’ needs.
Another project, at a leading university, took a different approach, with the decision led by the marketing department instead of IT. Wanting to be seen as innovative, and to support research while attracting students, the university chose Workplace by Facebook. It is a very cost-effective option, with the same familiar chat and IM capability already there. We’ve worked with the university to integrate SharePoint.
We have all witnessed the continued growth of collaboration in our workplaces and seen the benefits that come with doing it right. The question for IT teams is – how do we keep up with demand effectively, and align well with business needs? At JuiceIT, I spoke about the need to keep people engaged in any project, and how vendors are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) that supports humans in their efforts to collaborate. In businesses, and yes, even on the soccer pitch, technology is helping us to score more goals.
Time to find a better way to build collaboration in your organisation? I’m always happy to chat about how to make technology support your efforts and help your teams perform at their best.