Our enterprises are only as good as our ability to collaborate. As business becomes increasingly globalized and employees work remotely across different time zones, we’re facing more challenges in collaboration. An overabundance of emails, employees in different parts of the world, managing large teams, and sluggish decision making are all hurdles in the globalized work world, but they can be overcome. Let’s explore this further, with these fives steps to overcoming workplace collaboration challenges in your business.
Avoid “Email Fail”
There are several types of “email fail.” These include hitting “reply all” when you don’t mean to or failing to “reply all” when you should, losing messages in a sea of spam, and/or forgetting to attach a file. Email is a notoriously unreliable way to collaborate. When these missteps pile up on a regular basis and/or are spread out over several teams, the results can be disastrous, from missing project deadlines to losing productivity. What’s the fix?
Ditch your email, or at least streamline its use. It sounds like a daunting prospect, and we don’t mean to abandon email entirely, but for internal communications in particular, today’s technology offers more reliable options. Use specific collaboration tools with tracking accountability options like Slack or Microsoft’s newly reduced Teams. These kinds of tools allow for communication in real time and keep formatting consistent. Save email for client communications and/or other communiques that make the most sense for that channel.
Collaborate Across Time Zones
Mobile teams have a unique set of challenges as they collaborate across different time zones and geographic locations. This can make seamless communication difficult. People are rarely working at the same time, making it hard to keep project deadlines on track. A good way to manage this is to schedule regular collaboration efforts. By calendaring collaboration and holding mandatory meetings on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, you can check in, get updates from the team, and keep everyone on the same page.
Add Video to the Mix
As mentioned above, regular collaboration is a vital part of keeping teams connected, projects moving on schedule, and fostering regular communication. When you add video to the mix, it can supercharge your collaboration efforts. Video collaboration solutions allow companies to conduct meetings globally and affords the benefits of a face-to-face interaction. Being able to look one another in the eyes during meetings allows coworkers and collaborators to minimize the chances for miscommunication or misinterpretation
Take Some Cooks Out of the Kitchen
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “there are too many cooks in the kitchen” – referring to the idea that there are too many people working on one moving part. For example, feedback is an essential aspect of fine-tuning a product, but when there are too many involved in the process it may lead to more harm than good. Too many voices lead to pulling in different directions. When this happens, teams lose sight of the objective.
To avoid this scenario, before embarking on a project, develop key stakeholders for each step of the way and designate a clear leader for each project. Limit feedback from team members to this group and defer to the team leader. You’ll find decisions get made more quickly and processes in general will be both more efficient and more effective.
Make the Decision-Making Easy
Nothing slows a project down more than sluggish decision making. Indecisive decision makers can lead to missed deadlines and delayed project rollouts. But what can a team do?
Make the decision process as easy as possible. Instead of asking stakeholders what to do next, propose a few different options and let them pick. Statements like “let me think about it” or “I’ll get back to you” are sure signs of indecisive decision making. Gently provide a deadline for stakeholders to keep the project on track.
In summary, collaboration issues can slow down a project, but they don’t have to. Follow these five tips to enhance internal collaboration and get your team on track. With the right tools in place and the right tools powering the process, you’ll be in great shape.