Collaboration in the Workplace … 6 Secrets to Sharing Team Skills

How many times in your business career have you been in an organization where real energy was expended to building collaboration and sharing? How successful were these efforts? To build collaboration in the workplace is not an easy job, is it?  But we’d all agree that the payoffs certainly outweigh the efforts, wouldn’t we?

Check out our thoughts on team leverage


Over the years in my career, I’ve had the good fortune of being exposed to many smart people and worked as part of many teams trying to build collaboration and sharing.  It never ceases to amaze me how just a few moments of discussion, or sitting and listening to well thought-out debates, can open your mind to ideas you can’t believe you didn’t think of on your own.


Creative convergence depends on group collaboration … how well do you work in groups?


Related: 10 Leadership Competencies You Should Not Live Without


I have always found the wisdom of others to be something of a gift: free of charge, no limit to its value. No limits to its value because these pearls of wisdom can be connected to some of your ideas to produce something greater than what you might have created on your own.


For example, consider this example. It takes a great entrepreneur with vision to start a business, but it requires strong leadership collaboration skills and a collaboration of many people to make it a success.


Collaboration is working together to achieve a goal. It is a recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together to realize shared goals.  Note that collaboration is NOT cooperation … it is more than the intersection of common goals, but a collective determination to reach an identical objective by sharing knowledge, learning, and building consensus.


Collaboration is an attribute that cuts across many businesses and business processes.  We need to make it an intentional process and cultivate it into the team’s culture.


We recently came across an interesting IBM Report: Charting the Social Universe.


In an atmosphere where your value is defined by your ability to share your expertise rather than safeguard it, collaboration is crucial. In this Center for Applied Insights study, Charting the Social Universe, respondents were asked how they defined the term “social business.”


Their response? It’s all about collaboration: 74 percent defined a social business as one that uses social technology to foster collaboration among customers, employees and partners.


Collaboration doesn’t happen overnight. To better understand organizations’ approaches to adopting social, they were asked which social capabilities they had deployed, and for what business purposes. From these questions, four important ideas were derived:


Drive both internal and external collaboration

Build and educate employees

Gain customer insights and engage them

Use what you learned to improve business processes


Examples of collaboration in the workplace
Examples of collaboration in the workplace.

Let’s examine driving internal and external collaboration, which was the most common entry point for organizations. This idea includes social capabilities such as collaborative apps, enterprise social networks and social media marketing. The study outlines some additional key findings, but here are the insights from organizations focused on driving internal and external collaboration:


Because this ambition is often a company’s entry point into social, many are still in a relatively immature phase:


43 percent of respondents say they’re in the early stages of adopting these types of capabilities. But that will soon change as 53 percent say they’ll have an enterprise-wide strategy for these capabilities in the next two to three years.


69 percent have no formal qualitative metrics to assess the effectiveness of these social capabilities. Instead, they have a general, informal sense of their performance. But, interestingly, their #1 concern when deploying these capabilities is uncertainty in the return on investment.


It’s all about encouragement:


What was their #1 catalyst for deploying these capabilities? 39 percent say employee evangelists championed the use of these social capabilities.


52 percent say the best way to drive adoption of these capabilities internally is regular encouragement.


And two wildcards jumped out to the study team:


54 percent have a published set of guidelines for these capabilities.


For social media marketing, Facebook is most commonly used, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.



Are you looking to drive internal and external collaboration within your organization? Want your employees to share their unique knowledge and expertise instead of keeping it to themselves?


Here are a few tips you need to consider:


Develop formal metrics to prove the value of your social efforts.

Successful collaboration in the workplace
Successful collaboration in the workplace.

Pursue an enterprise social strategy.

Identify employee evangelists to spread the word about social capabilities.

Focus on employee adoption – keep encouraging them to use social, and remind them why.


Key takeaways


Creative ideas on how to build collaborative teams must include exploring, imagining, experimenting, and learning with others. Most of all, it requires reaching out to others to collaborate. The sum of group collaboration is always greater that the work of each individual.


So how do you focus and motivate a group of individuals to share their knowledge and collaborate as a team?


What do you believe is a fundamental requirement to support innovation in a team environment?  We believe collaboration and teamwork are fundamental to good innovation sessions and we work hard in our workshops to build these qualities.


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Need some help in capturing more improvements for your staff’s leadership, teamwork and collaboration? Creative ideas in running or facilitating a team or a collaboration workshop?


Call today for a FREE consultation or a FREE quote. Learn about some options to scope your job.

Call Mike at 607-725-8240.


All you get is what you bring to the fight. And that fight gets better every day you learn and apply new ideas.


When things are not what you want them to be, what’s most important is your next step. Call today.


Test. Learn. Improve. Repeat.


Are you devoting enough energy continually improving your continuous learning?


Do you have a lesson about making your learning better you can share with this community? Have any questions or comments to add in the section below?


Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+Twitter, and LinkedIn.  


Digital Spark Marketing will stretch your thinking and your ability to adapt to change.  We also provide some fun and inspiration along the way. Call us for a free quote today. You will be amazed how reasonable we will be.


More leadership material from Digital Spark Marketing’s Library:

Leadership Characteristics that Improve Influence

How to Create the Best Leadership Accountability

The Zen of Abraham Lincolns Leadersip Lessons



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Collaboration in the Workplace … 6 Secrets to Sharing Team Skills