Collaboration is a term that is bandied about a lot these days but its meaning has been clouded, quite literally.
A base description of collaboration (thanks to the good folk at Wikipedia) is: Collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Collaboration is similar to cooperation.
Hop online and Google collaboration though, and once you get past the definitions, you’ll find a great many links to websites for cloud based software to enable collaboration. It seems that the process has now become a definition of a tool.
Cloud computing certainly allows better integration across sites, organisations and even countries. Here at CSC Buying Group, we are definitely enjoying its many benefits.
Software allowing multiple people to edit a document or comment on a notice board may assist with collaboration but by itself, it doesn’t create and encourage it. An organisation’s culture is what enables true collaboration. Working towards a common goal, trusting your colleagues, transparency by all parties, willingness to engage and supportive leadership will always have far more influence than software ever could.
As a leader you need to ensure that there is a common purpose and an atmosphere of trust within the group. Also provide ongoing, constructive feedback throughout the process and encourage others to do the same. Most importantly, remember to communicate, communicate, communicate.
Collaboration does not rely on software, it relies on people. Whiz-bang computer tools will assist but if you want your team to fully collaborate, it still comes down to you as a leader. Don’t get fooled by the “techies”, collaboration is a human process. It’s up to you to create the environment that will allow it to happen.
First published in Cambridge Chamber of Commerce News, Summer 2018