Teamwork and Collaboration

February 18, 2020

How Do I Effectively Collaborate?

There are many articles written about how to facilitate teamwork and collaboration in your office, and rightfully so. It's a powerful tool to have. Ever heard the saying “2 heads are better than 1?” Well that’s exactly true when talking about the workplace. Having good chemistry between coworkers can be exponentially positive for all parties involved.
What many don’t realize is what you need as the base of effectively collaborating and getting the most out of working closely with your colleagues. Whether it’s selling, fixing or strategizing, there is one thing that is ESSENTIAL to effective collaboration: objectivity. The main reason this is so important is because with objectivity comes trust, and with trust comes fearless, non-hesitant input. That's the goal people!
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If your team can trust everyone involved to be objective - or said in other words: to carefully consider any idea/thought while having an unbiased opinion - the possibilities are endless and can have a positive domino effect for the team, an individual, or even the entire company. 

When Might This Come Into Play?

Think back on your professional career. Have you ever walked into a meeting about an issue your company was having with an idea on how to fix it? But hanging out in the back of your mind was the fear that, because you were new or not directly involved, or there was some other roadblock from having the confidence to relay your idea to team, you held your tongue and watched your superiors squirm and struggle. I’m sure you have. I definitely have. 

Imagine if you knew without a doubt that if you got a chance to explain what you were thinking, it would be legitimately considered. Think about how empowered, useful and confident you would feel. This is exactly what we need for effective collaboration. 

I’m not saying that I, or anyone reading this, have the best ideas or the solution to every problem. BUT if we got the chance to explain what we were thinking, that could spark an idea in another person, and another, and another. Suddenly, the entire room has bounced their ideas off of each other and you now have considered many different ways of going about solving the issue, optimizing the strategy, etc.

A Personal Example

I remember sitting in a conference room within my first few months at Votacall. I had secured an awesome job as an Account Manager and was stoked for what was ahead of me. However, I always gravitate toward the marketing side of things in any business I was a part of - specifically social media. I truly enjoy coming up with guerrilla techniques aimed at establishing a brand's identity, promoting its products and showing what the faces behind the logo were truly like. Important or not, it gives the business a friendly face.

It was my first quarter at Votacall and I am sitting in this conference room with my good friend Anurag (our marketing guy) waiting for our COO, Andy, to join and talk about new marketing and social media techniques. I was incredibly nervous to try and explain my ideas because I didn't know how these two guys would perceive them (or me, for that matter). It was incredibly distracting and nerve-wracking.

Thankfully, one of the first things Andy said was, "There are no dumb ideas here. Just give me what you got." I don't remember the specifics of my initial ideas, but what I do remember was each one spiraling into a few lengthy conversations, creating a web of sub-ideas that we were going to try to pursue.

After the meeting, I had a quick 'aha!' moment where I realized that in the right environment, all people have to do is express themselves freely and you will get somewhere (at least somewhere better than where you were).

The Result

Now, I am in no way, shape or form taking all the credit for our ideas. But, once we had that first meeting, we started having more and more. Then we started bringing other people in to see if they had anything to contribute. Guess what - they always did! Regardless of if they knew they did or not, there was always some little piece of info that shot out of them that Andy, Anurag and I could run with.

This is where things got fun. In between the articles, blogs and product-informative social media posts, we started coming up with ideas for videos or events that showed who us "Votacallians" (or "Votacallites?" I couldn't decide. Vote in the comment section please) were as people behind the products and the logo. The results? A race down a busy street in the middle of Boston, our #RealCX podcast, frozen river plunges, blooper reels, beer and spiked seltzer tasting challenges, etc.

Now you might be asking, "How is that helping your business? How is it making you more money?" I'll tell you.

1. Increased engagement/interaction on social media.

2. Happier employees (myself included) that needed that mental break every once in a while.

3. Increased participation in our marketing pow-wow type collaboration meetings.

Wrap It Up, Chuck!

I personally have a few takeaways from this.

The first is to always speak up. Even if you are scared, share your ideas. You never know what it could lead to.

Second, be the person in the group that always takes any idea into consideration, even if the consideration is only brief. Some of the wildest ideas I have heard have fostered some of the best after some time pondering and adjusting.

Last, facilitating multiple points of view to solve an issue isn't the best route to take - it is the ONLY route to take (you know, if you're into effective and sustainable results).

That's all I got for this week. Thanks for reading and let us know what you think on the subject!

Oh! And don't forget to vote on what we should call ourselves! Yes, it's extremely important.

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