How (and Why) You Should Encourage Collaboration

You know the expression, “two heads are better than one”? It’s what’s behind a growing movement among small businesses. The idea is to encourage your staff to work together to solve a problem or generate an idea. By having two people work together, you have a better outcome than if just one person worked on it. Here are some reasons why you should consider collaboration and how to encourage it among your employees.

What’s In It for Your Business?

Collaboration can provide a number of benefits for your small business. First, it takes some of the pressure off of you to provide all the solutions. Your staff works closely with your customers and understands their needs. They also know your business. Their insight provides another perspective on a challenge that you may not be aware of.

Encouraging collaboration can also develop stronger work teams. It requires employees to listen and evaluate more than one solution to a problem. And they are more likely to support the ultimate outcome since they helped to develop it.

Another benefit is that it provides unified direction. Rather than every employee operating independently, the entire team is working toward the same goal. That gives them the opportunity to troubleshoot for each other and keep a project moving.

3 Tips to Encourage Collaboration

Here are three ways you can start promoting collaboration in your business:

  1. Huddle-Up Daily – Take time at the start of the day for the team to gather and give a 10-minute update. Have them quickly identify what’s working, what’s not and what’s missing.  This helps you monitor what’s happening in collaboration groups, reinforce their work and intervene when necessary. It can also give you an opportunity to suggest areas where they might want to spend more time.
  2. Set Individual and Team Goals – Use a combination of individual and team goals. That creates two levels of accountability. Individuals will work to achieve their specific goals, but at the same time, they must also collaborate with other team members to achieve the group’s objective.
  3. Define Roles – Define the roles and responsibilities of the team members, especially at the beginning of a project. It avoids team members stepping on what others might perceive as “their job.” It also provides an opportunity for you to acknowledge why they were chosen and the unique contribution they can make,which will motivate teams to start the discussion.

Collaboration can help businesses develop stronger teams. The diversity of thought developed within the groups helps you to arrive at better solutions to challenges. The business wins and teams can build on that success to address the next problem.

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