Team Collaboration

In this blog post we talk about 'teamwork'. We will discuss how collaboration and teamwork go hand-in-hand, and revisit the basic definition of ‘collaboration’.

When you come right down to it, the definition collaboration is quite different from teamwork. While teamwork is the basic action of working together effectively, collaboration must result in a finished product or creation. Why does this even matter?  Because collaboration is essential to individual, team and company growth. If you treat collaboration like teamwork, you'll end up with a great team, but not always a great outcome. Taking action to make successful collaboration a priority on your team and with other departments can help streamline efforts and ultimately, save everyone time. 

Some of the common challenges of team collaboration, and some tips on solving them:
1. Indecisive decision-makers
The ones who are supposed to provide a clear path to success end up having no idea what path to take. This situation is common when there are several stakeholders involved, and not all stakeholders are on the same page. Indecisiveness may seem like a small challenge at first, but it can lead to unclear expectations and delayed deadlines - not to mention frustrated team members. 
2. "E-fail"
This is a term used for when email fails. Hitting "reply all" (or forgetting to hit reply at all), not attaching the latest file, forgetting to peek into spam for important emails... it happens to the best of us. These mistakes are all too common when collaborating with several teams. Eventually, attachments are lost, and project timelines are driven off the rails.
3.  Mis(sing)communication
When collaborating, there is always room for misinterpretation and miscommunication. Sometimes, mistakes aren't even discovered until it's too late. Without a clear understanding of what's expected from stakeholders, energy is wasted and time is ticking. This can be caused by miscommunication or simply just missing communication. 
4. Process sinking vs. process syncing
Different departments have different processes. So when it's time to collaborate cross-departmentally, it's difficult to implement a consistent process that works well with every team's work styles. And if teams are using different tools, the difficulty increases.
5. Too many cooks
You've heard the saying, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. This can also be true for projects. It's great to get feedback on a project, but when too many people are involved, all that feedback can lead to more harm than good. Too many voices and differing opinions can pull people in different directions, and result in losing sight of the real objective.
6. Negative Nancys
"We'll never get this done in time." There is usually at least one on every team and their pessimistic attitude spreads like wildfire. They complain about almost everything, and whenever there is a challenge or a disagreement, they will be the first ones to bring it up and the last ones to think of a solution. These individuals can bring down productivity and morale of a team, causing frustration and conflict. If you happen to be the Negative Nancy, take a step back and evaluate your attitude. Simply changing the way you say things can get your point across, without the unproductive and contagious negativity.
Working in collaboration is essential in any business environment - and not just for the employees - company leaders will benefit greatly by keeping these issues in check as they work together in driving the change agenda across the platform.
Michael Greentree
Director - Asia Pacific
Human Resources


Reference: Challenges to Team Collaboration - Brianna Hansen, 2018