Make Collaborations Count with Focus
Blog: Jim Sinur
Today we find that collaboration is rapidly flourishing throughout many organizations large, medium, or small. We see collaboration as a major activity in emails, forums, chat, project management, and generalized chat tools. Where is all this collaboration and communication going? Is it to chaos or results? Let’s change these questions to be focused on forward momentum and appreciating collaborations and coordinated communications through goal-driven approaches. By making goals and guardrails crucial for guiding and empowering teams, organizations will experience significant appreciation in their collaborations and communications.
Benefits of Goal-Driven Collaborations/Communications
There are a set of significant benefits that emerge from guided collaboration and communication. Besides cutting out the noise from collaborations that do not contribute to desired outcomes, there are real positive results from communication activity that is focused on the prize and keeps folks from slipping into known ditches of unproductive activity. Goals and guardrails along with group learning are key to forward momentum and results.
Organizations can no longer stand pat on decisions and actions of the past. This means that they must be aimed at getting better all the time. This often happens in guiding decisions and actions through smart processes that can adapt to rule changes senses by a team during both the building and maintenance of both decision and action-focused processes.
In order to stay on top of markets, products, and changing business conditions, organizations through teams or management need to be learning and sharing at all times. It could be as simple as recognizing an emerging signal, event, or pattern in the business that one team member sees and shares. It could be a manager or a team member recognizing an opportunity to change tactics to optimize outcomes within a current business scenario. It also could be a recognition of a need to change strategy to match emerging conditions.
Giving teams goals to achieve outcomes allows them to operate with the mind of management without management overlooking every detail. Giving teams guardrails also keeps them from relearning lessons that came out of negative situations from the past or new and emerging dangers. Freedom levels can be given not teams to allow them to flourish and keep mistakes to a minimum.
Innovation & Creativity
Great ideas are like fleeting moments. They are hard to capture in context and often are not captured. Collaboration can allow innovations to be captured and even shared for additional growth and testing. Groupthink on emergent change and ideas is a helpful starting point for the learning organization.
Often results are different for different stakeholders inside or outside the organization. Implementors need the voice of stakeholders in their everyday activities to strike the balance between seemingly conflicting outcomes. Early detection of deviance from stakeholder goals is a major benefit of goal-driven collaborations.
Setting the Necessary Goals & Guardrails
Goals need to be established and linked to important outcomes. Since much of continuous improvement is tied to processes, linking the collaborations/communications to processes is necessary. The problem with process improvement is that it is often managed by a core set of process geeks instead of spreading out innovation and change to everyone. This democratizes improvement efforts to a larger pool of innovation sources. Stakeholders’ desires and goals are often lost in the translation of building and maintaining processes. This is why constant stakeholder representation can be maintained by linking collaborations to individual or groups of stakeholders. Guardrails can also set up in advance to avoid major blunders, but new learnings can be baked into new goals and guardrails.
Managing the Fluidity of Change
We are living in a world of constant change and the only thing we know is the pace of change is accelerating. This puts a premium on speed and agility within the context of a fail-fast world. This means that the goals and guard rails have to be adjusted on a frequent basis and the ripple effect has to be communicated fast to the implementing and operational teams along with their management. This presents a dynamic environment where teams have to be enabled with focused information quickly to optimize outcomes.
We are in the age of pressure for continuous improvement that can be adversely affected by change both internal and external to organizations. The coping mechanisms for learning organizations that want to thrive and capitalize on improvement and change are going to have to change. While there are communication and collaboration tools aplenty, few are linked to the goals and stakeholders in and around organizations. There is a new breed of methods, techniques, and tools emerging. Here is a link to one of these emerging vendors There will be more for sure. Salesforce bought SLack to head in this direction.