Collaboration is a big theme in small business for a reason:
People thrive in an environment that frees them to collaborate. When my employees experience job satisfaction, customers reap the benefits. However, implementing this approach requires a paradigm shift, which changes the focus from individual accomplishment to team success:
1. Communicate company expectations
Make it clear that collaboration is the minimum standard. Define roles and responsibilities within the team. Every team member should understand their position and what is required of them. In a collaborative environment every team member takes responsibility for good outcomes.
2. Set team goals
Ensure concise, measurable goals are set on a quarterly basis. Getting the team to focus on goals will keep individual efforts aligned with desired outcomes. Be willing to re-evaluate goals as needed.
3. Foster a creative atmosphere
Allow team members to question and brainstorm in a non-judgmental framework. Encourage the team to look at obstacles as being conquerable. Nurture a “can do” company attitude. Ask why, or why not, on a regular basis.
4. Build cohesion
Include every person on the team in as many large decisions as possible. Create a means of communicating current work flows to avoid duplication of effort. Initiate daily team huddles where each member shares what they will be accomplishing that day. This keeps everyone on the same playbook and enables team members to re-direct their efforts as needed.
5. Know one another
Different personality dynamics, skill sets and experiences are present in every team. It is worth the effort to have each member complete a simple personality profile. Share the results and openly discuss likes and dislikes with regard to communication, tasks and personal focus.
6. Leverage team member strengths
Position each team member for success by assigning tasks that play to their respective strengths. Reward both individual and team accomplishments regularly.
Establishing a collaboration policy is just the beginning. Collaboration must be consistent and purposeful, with resources dedicated to its success. You may have many superheroes in your office already; but you can build your productivity exponentially by getting them to work as a collaborative team.
Read more posts about improving your small business’ company culture. The original article was written by Andrew Field and published in AMEX's Open Forum OPEN Cardmember Andrew S. Field is the Founder and CEO of PrintingForLess.com, the nation's first e-commerce commercial printing company.