Getting staff to collaborate within the existing structure

Getting staff to collaborate within the existing structure

Foster multiple minds to solve complex problems and create strategic advantages

 

Make sure you’re focusing efforts to foster collaboration where it’s most needed – complex problems that require the input of multiple specialised experts who couldn’t confront the issue without integrating their knowledge

Make sure you’re focusing efforts to foster collaboration where it’s most needed – complex problems that require the input of multiple specialised experts who couldn’t confront the issue without integrating their knowledge

 

Most of us assume that if we want to change people’s behaviour, we need to change their incentives. But you can get people to collaborate even if you can’t change the organisational structures around them.

To foster collaboration, here are steps to keep in mind:

1. Pick your battles carefully:

Make sure you’re focusing efforts to foster collaboration where it’s most needed – complex problems that require the input of multiple specialised experts who couldn’t confront the issue without integrating their knowledge.

2. Convince with quantitative evidence:

Harness your internal sales data to show people that smart collaboration is not just a nice-to-have – it’s a strategic advantage for capturing market share.

3. Drive down collaboration costs:

Broker important relationships to help people build the necessary networks quickly. Use simple, off-the-shelf tools to make collaboration smoother. Pair a technology whizz with an employee who needs support with the tools; a personal relationship makes the uptake much more likely than expecting someone to learn on their own.

4. Harness the power of competition:

Publicise advances that people make collaboratively to stir up some constructive rivalry among peers. Set up contests and award small prizes for steps people take in the right direction, such as submitting joint sales plans rather than individual ones.

5. Get the benefits flowing faster:

Since the financial payout for collaboration can take a while, be sure to reward inputs while people are in the early stages of learning new collaborative processes. Make it easy for people to call out colleagues who helped them, and celebrate both the contributor and communicator.

– Copyright Harvard Business Review 2017

 

Previously published in The Irish Times.

_______________________________________________________________

Check out Ireland's leading jobs here

Back to listing