The benefits of business collaboration can be significant — in some cases, even transformative. But what if you’re missing out on them?
Simply by changing the way that you approach collaboration at work, you may be able to experience those benefits yourself. And when you multiply that effect by the number of people on your team, the opportunity increases significantly.
There are three simple mindset shifts that can radically amplify your results. Make a conscious effort to try on even one or two of these approaches, and what you find might motivate you to make a permanent shift.
1. Be Ready for Surprises
One of the most significant benefits of business collaboration is the ability to draw on a range of perspectives from within — or beyond — your organization. So why is it sometimes difficult to be confronted with surprising new information and perspectives?
Collaborative projects don’t happen in a vacuum. When your own assumptions are challenged, it can feel like your authority is on the line. The best antidote to this is not to brace against the possibility of surprises, but to adopt a mindset of welcoming them instead.
When you do this, every new insight becomes interesting. You’re able to consider them, even if they’re the opposite of what you started out thinking.
In her famous TED Talk, “On Being Wrong,” author Kathryn Schulz says, “Most of us do everything we can to avoid thinking about being wrong, or at least to avoid thinking about the possibility that we, ourselves, are wrong.”
But, she argues, it’s absolutely essential to change the way we think. And if we can, there are extraordinary benefits to be realized.
“It is possible to step outside of that feeling,” she says, “and…if you can do so, it is the single greatest moral, intellectual and creative leap you can make.”
2. Bring Awareness of Personal Productivity Styles
It’s not personal. It’s business, right? Even the phrase “business collaboration” sounds like a collective, not a group of individuals.
But the dynamics that govern the many small exchanges that make up a collaborative effort can drive the success or failure of the entire initiative.
What happens when you can bring an awareness of varied personal productivity styles to a collaborative setting at work? Several things are likely to happen, often with surprising speed.
First, communication gets streamlined. As author and productivity expert Carson Tate described in “Harness the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style,” when you make a conscious choice to communicate in the style that someone else comprehends best, you have a much higher likelihood of being understood.
This means fewer misunderstandings, fewer back-and-forth clarifications, and less time sacrificed to trying to bridge the gaps.
Second, collaboration dynamics improve. It doesn’t feel great to be overwhelmed or confused, especially when you’re trying to work together. As these dynamics improve, spirits rise and moods lighten.
This opens to the door to improved flexibility, fresh ideas, and more give and take — a win for any business collaboration.
3. Reduce Distractions and Attention-Drains
There’s a good reason that some people resist collaborative projects: they take a lot of work! You’re expecting the unexpected. You’re thinking about other productivity styles.
While that in itself isn’t a reason to avoid business collaboration, it does raise an important concern. Mental bandwidth is limited, decision fatigue is real, and there are only so many hours in a workday.
But the solution is not to collaborate less. Rather, it’s to find ways to reduce distractions and drains on your attention so that you have more time and energy available.
Technology can help significantly. For example, at Redbooth, we frequently hear from users who are saving an hour or more every day because they no longer have to spend time wading through endless emails in their inbox. This means 5+ hours a week are now available to devote to projects that can have a real impact.
Logistics can make a difference as well. Spend a significant portion of your day commuting? If you can work from home one or two days a week, you can free up the mental resources that you’d normally use up on the drive.
Finally, give yourself the gift of focus. Reduce visual and audio distractions in your environment when you’re in communication with the people you’re collaborating with. Agree on a shared method for capturing ideas and reminders as they arise so that mental bandwidth isn’t wasted trying to remember them.
The fewer resources you need to devote to tuning things out or recalling details, the more you’ll have to contribute to what you’re working on together.
On Your Way to More Benefits of Business Collaboration
If you’re committed to creating or improving a collaborative culture at your workplace, consider taking 5 minutes right to choose one of the three approaches described here and revisit it.
Brainstorm specific ways that you can bring that approach to the most important collaborative project you’re working on right now.
Whether it’s deciding to take a minute before the next meeting to get ready to be surprised, identifying the personal productivity style of just one of your colleagues, or making a plan to figure out and address the biggest distraction facing your team, you’ll be well-positioned to reap more of the benefits of collaboration.
Redbooth business collaboration software reduces distractions — and is flexible enough to accommodate every productivity style. Try it free with up to 50 seats >>