What they found was revealing; While these companies described themselves as having a collaborative workforce, very few lived up to their claims.
The companies that did have a collaborative culture, however, showed remarkable gains. These truly collaborative companies were five times as likely to be high performers.
Companies that excel at collaboration create a culture that rewards teamwork. It starts by assembling the right cross-functional team members, getting them to buy into a common goal, and providing them with the right tools to collaborate and communicate.
Communication is at the core:
Cross-functional teams need to be in constant contact.
There need to be clearly defined tasks and an understanding of how these tasks add up to the whole.
This includes an easy way for team members to identify tasks, assignments, responsibilities, and deadlines.
Centralizing communication is crucial.
Teams must be able to find the information they need in one place, so they don’t have to hunt down information.
Establishing an official communication channel allows for information and document sharing and encourages collaboration.
Even in a collaborative environment, there needs to be someone in charge.
Designate a team leader or a single point of contact for teams.
Even agile teams that work in concert on projects across multiple disciplines have a project lead that manages the process to completion.
For teams to work collaboratively, they must have an underlying basis of trust.
This trust will only come as team members get to know each other and form relationships.
It helps to bring team members together.
Social events and informal gatherings can help.
For remote team members, conferencing and messaging apps can facilitate interaction.
Google is one of the world’s most valuable companies. It credits much of its success in building efficient teams.
Google researchers studied these teams to determine what led to success.
What they found was that what mattered was less about the members that got chosen for the team, but more about how the team worked together as a unit. What mattered most was trust.
The importance of trust also extends to the employee – management relationship, which is just as vital (arguably more so) as trust amongst team members.
Employees need to know that they will be heard and listened to.
Displaying trust, such as avoiding micromanaging, will allow team members to feel as though their hard work is getting recognized and that there isn’t always someone over their shoulder.
You could also consider doing some team-building exercises to help everyone feel like they know each other better and can help develop bonds of trust.