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Team Collaboration Best Practices

by: John Coburn
Team Collaboration Best Practices

Team collaboration is at the center of every successful company—regardless of your industry or business model. 

It’s the cornerstone of both traditional and remote workplaces. When team members gel together into one cohesive unit, they’re more productive, the work environment is more conducive, and the organization flourishes.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

—Henry Ford

But promoting and maintaining team collaboration is easier said than done. In fact, research shows that more than 8 in every 10 executives and employees point to ineffective communication and a lack of collaboration as the main hurdle in their companies.

So, how do you overcome some of the common barriers to collaboration? What are the strategies for effective team collaboration? And how do you maintain the sense of teamwork for the foreseeable future? Read on for answers to these questions and more.

Why is Collaboration Important in a Team? – Teamwork Statistics 

what-does-the-data-say

Anyone who gives two cents about business understands that employees are the most valuable organizational resource. And when this all-important asset combines its expertise, knowledge, and experience, only good things are bound to happen – i.e., competitive advantage and success. But don’t take our word for it; here are some teamwork statistics to highlight the importance of collaboration.

  • Collaborative and motivated teams that work towards a common goal perform 5x better.
  • Effective communication may lower employee turnover by up to 50%.
  • A study by Queens University suggests that 75% of employees believe collaboration and teamwork are very important.
  • A company is 4.5x more likely to keep their top talent when there is a culture of effective communication.
  • Lack of collaboration is the main culprit to failed projects according to 86% of 1,400 executives.
  • Around 8 in every 10 companies witness improved business processes by using collaboration tools.
  • A strong sense of community was enough to keep 54% of employees at a company even when it was against their best interest.

What are the Barriers to Collaboration?

team-communication-barriers

The benefits of teamwork are clear cut—but achieving effective collaboration is not a straightforward path. There are tons of internal and external obstacles that a company must overcome. Below are some reasons collaboration failures happen:

  • Unhealthy Competition: Turf, conflicts in decision making, and attempts to exploit weaknesses in each other is inappropriate and detrimental to teamwork. 
  • Little Transparency: To echo the words of Denise Morrison, “The single most important ingredient in the recipe for success is transparency because transparency builds trust.” Lack of sharing and trust is one of the main setbacks to collaboration—whether in an organization on in a personal relationship.
  • Forcing Collaboration: Collaboration must be nurtured naturally. The team should feel motivated to work together under a shared purpose—not forced.
  • Lack of Team Governance Processes: Every team member must be on the same page regarding the standards of behavior, what to expect, and roles. This reduces cases of dispute.
  • Lack of Patience: Team collaboration takes time and it’s important to see the process through.
  • Historical Rifts: Negative past experiences can keep a team from collaborating effectively and achieving its full potential.

What are the Best Practices for Promoting Team Collaboration?

Overcoming barriers to teamwork and creating a collaborative work environment demands concerted effort. The collaborative values must be integrated into the entire organization’s ethos. By using the right strategies for effective collaboration, it’s possible to completely improve the dynamic of a group and the workplace atmosphere.

Let’s take a look at 5 team collaboration best practices and strategies:

1. Developing a Clear ScopeCompany Goals and Mission

Did you know that 7 in every 10 organizational projects are doomed to fail? One of the perpetrators for this abysmal statistic is a lack of clear direction. Having a clear scope that highlights the company’s goals and missions is the first step towards helping a team work together synchronously. The idea is to give everyone a reason to be passionate about their work – i.e., it serves as a technical map/blueprint and a motivator.

2. Encourage a Community Working Environment

The best performing businesses often thrive off a community working environment. A workplace doesn’t have to be dull, boring, and tedious to the psyche. Instead, foster a strong sense of community. How so? Well, consider encouraging people to take an active in the company and ensure they feel that their opinion matters.

3. Assign Responsibility

Having a common goal is great—and so is working as a community. But none of these best practices really matter if people are ‘winging it’. Each team member must have a good idea of his or her tasks, responsibilities, and targets. 

Aside from creating a sense of ownership, this reduces disputes, enhances accountability, and ensures the team functions as a well-oiled machine with different parts working together.

4. Share Resources and Insights

An effective team should be able to discuss failures, celebrate victories, share insights, access all the necessary resources, and engage in constructive feedback. Ensure everyone on the team has easy access to the project and organizational information. 

And with the advent of the technological age, you can use software to document and share knowledge seamlessly. Examples of file-sharing software include Google Drive, Hightail, Zoom, Dropbox, Skype, and Wistia. 

5. Invest in Collaboration Tools

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “The best investment is in the tools of one’s trade.” Collaboration tools are an important facet of effective teamwork—especially in the current digital age. As more and more people and businesses embrace the idea of remote work (over 3 million in the U.S.), the need for tools that allow teams to work together over long distances is more urgent than ever. Unsurprisingly, around 80% of companies rely on social collaboration tools and software to improve their processes.

Some of the top collaboration tools and project management software include Taskworld, Slack, Asana, Flock, Loom, Outlook, Google Calendar, Samepage, and Teamwork.

To get started with collaboration tools for free >> Sign up for Taskworld’s Trial

Wrapping Up

Fostering a healthy workplace culture of collaboration and teamwork increases job satisfaction, decreases cycle time, facilitates better decision making, boosts motivation, improves performance, creates an engaged workforce, and increases ROI (Return on Investment).

These environments are inclusive, they value transparency and knowledge-sharing, they invest in collaboration tools/technology, they have a common goal, and they are creative. Whatever your industry or the size of your organization, you can take steps to promote team collaboration by enforcing some of these best practices.

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