When it comes to team building and building organizations that are successful, collaboration is one of the most important elements. The benefits of collaboration are nothing new but we often forget what truly happens when we collaborate. When we realize that the whole is greater than any of the individual parts, we reap the benefits. Collaboration brings about new ideas, friendships and ways you never thought possible. Collaboration requires meetings, but meetings in which it is not run by one but many. Collaboration is “we” and not “I”.
All ideas can be considered good ideas
In a collaborative work space there is an environment of safety, no idea is a bad idea. Employees are free to communicate what is on their mind. Great ideas have been born out of the craziest thoughts. There is a quote that states, “99% of Success is built on Failure” by Charles Kettering. With failure comes creativity which leads to innovation and success. I was in meeting once and someone suggested an idea that seemed so impossible. We all looked at the individual as though they were crazy. But the idea was born and we made it happen.
Employees feel appreciated and trust is built
Today’s workers, want to feel valued and appreciated. People go to work not just for money but to feel that their work is appreciated and is contributing to the purpose of the organization. When information is shared within a team and employees are open, trust is built. Trust is built with collaboration and is the foundation of all great organizations.
Creativity is born
According to an article in the Greater Good from Dr. Keith Sawyer, he describes that from collaboration springs creativity, conversation and social networks. When employees feel connected and friends are made within an organization, employees are more satisfied with their jobs. Fresh ideas from employees who were never included in meetings can spark new concepts never thought of before.
Diversity leads to success
When we collaborate with diversity within our teams, teams are stronger, new and different ideas are formed. Successful results can be generated. With diversity and collaboration we are able to view and discuss all the thoughts, regardless if they are good or bad.
Creates a learning environment
A learning environment is when an organization supports and encourages values and practices to increase knowledge and performance. A learning environment and collaboration results in the achievement of goals and capacity to know when change is needed.
New strengths and weaknesses are realized
In order to be successful in today’s complex organizations, leaders have to consider all points of view. We have to keep an open mind to new ways of thinking and doing. Opening meetings to a sharing culture allows employees to feel safe to communicate and think creatively.
I am sure you have you heard that money is not always the driver in someone’s productivity but the environment in which you work that makes the difference? Why is that? Research continues to show that when employees feel appreciated, valued and have trust in the leader, production increases and people simply work smarter.
How does a company create an environment in which people thrive?
Many businesses operate with one leader but when an organization considers each person a leader, the business thrives. When an individual employee feels that they bring value and their opinion counts, their ability to perform and be more productive increases. They have skin in the game. The sense of belonging makes them feel responsible for the job they do and to do it well. Make it comfortable for employees to share their voice and let them know that their opinion counts.
Compassion must be shown throughout the organization. Studies have shown that when compassion is present in the work place, employees feel a sense of connectivity. Compassion is the ability to feel empathy and an overall friendliness towards each other. When there is genuine compassion, cooperation and loyalty increase and employees experience less stress. One way to build a compassionate organization is to take the time to get to know your employees. Understand what makes them tick and a bit about their personal lives. When you tie their personal life into their work life a connection is built and it shows that you care.
Not always being right is OK. When employees have the freedom and flexibility to explore and create, new ideas are generated. If employees are worried about not being right, they don't allow themselves to think outside the box. Being open to failure can lead to innovation and success. As Eileen Fisher advocates, it is about “not knowing” which makes it easier to learn from others. Make it a point to have an open format to freely share ideas and explore new possibilities.
When you view your organization as people working together for a common goal, trust builds. Showing compassion and being able to freely express ideas whether they are good or bad does not make an organization soft but it builds a unit that supports and believes in one another.
How does your organization create an open environment? Please leave a comment.