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July 14, 2015
8 min
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4 Ways to Make Collaboration Efforts Succeed

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True collaboration begins when tools are synced with culture. However, it isn't so easy to immediately switch into a collaborative mindset. While employees might have an enterprise social network and other tools to "collaborate," it's difficult to execute proper strategies that will eventually lead to success. In fact, according to an article on CMSWire, 77 percent of employees never use their enterprise social network, and only 3 percent use it once each day.

This is staggering when you consider the large investments companies makes in these collaboration tools. In order to successfully initiate the process of collaboration — to lead to a collaborative culture synced with collaborative tools — it's important to strategize your company efforts.

Keep these four tips in mind when aiming to make collaboration efforts at your company succeed:

1. Recognize the problem

Let's say your employees are offered collaborative tools, but fail to use them. However, no one in your company is acknowledging it. That denial in itself can be the root of all problems when it comes to establishing collaboration. Ask yourself — why isn't collaboration working? Are there flaws with the system we are using? Are there flaws with the way people are using tools and platforms? Where are we lacking more — in our tools or in our culture? Is your vision of collaboration coinciding with your business objectives?

If you fail to realize where collaboration is falling short, there's no way any improvements can be made. Recognizing the problem is the first step to making sure your collaboration efforts will succeed.

2. Connect people on platforms centered around work

Perhaps the most important way tools play a part in collaboration is how they connect people around the work they do. Once everyone is connected on platforms (for example, product developers interacting with the support team), your company is already working toward a collaborative culture. This contrasts with cold email communication — back and forth email communication doesn't actually connect people around work. And that's the problem with email — it is often separated from the actual work of documents, support tickets, and the code repository, to name only a few work products people produce every day.

People fail to see work or project progress in email because communication is occurring "away" from the work. The average worker still spends 28 percent of their time managing email, when instead, they could use an organized system to communicate within a collaborative platform. Email leaves room for miscommunication and just plain not including the right people. They key is to get people to collaborate in the context of the work they actually do and not in a place separated from the work.

3. Infuse collaboration into the workflow process

Collaboration fails to be successful in many companies simply due to the fact that it is not incorporated into the workflow process. Don't just encourage employees to use collaborative platforms, show them that everything is easier when they do. The article on CMSWire highlights how sales people, for example, can infuse collaboration into their workflow by using systems that help them team up on proposal responses, find experts to contribute, manage customer relationships, etc. In other words, the right tool is one that can help move that proposal along a workflow and pulls the right people in at the right time to get it done.

If collaboration is infused into the workflow, processes will automatically be more efficient.

4. Stress content collaboration

They say content is king. However, content can only reach true excellence when it is created through a collaborative platform. Document editing and creation needs to be easy for multiple people to access and track any changes made. Make sure your company is enforcing and stressing the importance of content collaboration right when you begin to move toward a collaborative culture.

A new mindset can be difficult for your company to instantly switch to, but it's important to motivate everyone to follow values and use tools that will foster a collaborative culture. By following these four tips, your efforts toward a collaborative culture will surely succeed.

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