Collaboration is indeed the business opportunity of the decade, promising to energize your organization while making more effective use of your precious assets. My Cisco colleague Carl Wiese and I wrote a book called The Collaboration Imperative: Executive Strategies for Unlocking Your Organization’s True Potential to help organizations “operationalize” collaboration and capture these gains. Our goal wasn’t to write a “theory” book, but rather one that drills down into specific actions, with concrete examples of how to put collaboration to work in the real world.
As Carl noted in a previous post, effective collaboration is a function of aligning culture, process and technology. But how do you do that? Here is a one example from the book: Collaborative teams work best when they’re made up of people who communicate openly.
Collaboration technologies, especially video, make it easy to reach people across an organization and around the world. Anyone who has traded their economy-class airline seat in favor of a Telepresence meeting knows the powerful benefits of collapsing space and time with an engaging video meeting. However, as we cross departmental, cultural and time-zone boundaries, collaboration puts our personal communication skills to the test.
As we increasingly interact virtually, we work more and more with people we don’t know or have a long history with; they may actually work in a different company and teams may come and go in rapid succession. Establishing rapport –- quickly –- is one of the most important aspects of successful collaboration, and it starts with communicating authentically.