And, No, I’m not talking about a movie. As you may know if you have children, (or co-workers who act like children) having rules are important. Everyone functions better when they know where the boundaries are.
So, within those boundaries how do you build a collaborative culture? I really like Dan Sanker’s new book, “Collaborate: The Art of We”. It’s described as “The 21st Century’s counterpart to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. Sanker gives real world examples with companies he’s helped (Safeway, Nabisco, Deloitte) and companies he’s observed (Disney, McDonalds). And, he talks about using online social tools successfully. He really understands the huge benefit everyone involved receives when they are working in collaboration, versus competition. Part of building a collaborative culture is having a shared goal.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” ~ Aristotle
Once you have a collaborative group, virtual meetings are easier to manage. With everyone being on the same page, so to speak, they don’t have to be in the same room to get the job done. It’s always good practice to run through the ground rules at the beginning of each meeting; just as a refresher.
There are limits, however. One thing to remember with virtual meetings is that you lose a lot of nonverbal cues/gestures, as people “tend to move less in the virtual environment”, according to a study conducted by Dr. Trevor Dodds, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Germany. It wasn’t just the body language of the speaker being important to communication, but the body language of the listener as well. Think back to a conversation you had with someone, that as you spoke and they listened…and reacted…that you changed your tone or words or volume. It’s similar to email, where you are sending words out there without benefit of verbal or visual cues.
And, finally, make sure that you have offline reinforcements to keep the collaboration going. These may involve small on-site meetings or larger off-site gatherings. You can even consider recognition events to acknowledge the increased productivity due to collaboration. One way that you can combine a large off-site gathering with a recognition event is to cruise as a group. Yes way! It’s actually cheaper to cruise as a group: you have access to meeting rooms, a/v equipment, onboard activities (that can be used for team building), and entertainment (that can be used to decompress). Best part – just about everything is included! Choose how many days and your destination, have the Cruise team organize it, and you have a captive audience! Have shore excursions as a group, or allow participants free time.
For long-term results, collaboration is better than competition. Find ways to keep a collaborative spirit going, and keep moving forward towards success. What are your “Rules of Engagement?
References for this article include:
Sanker, Dan. “Collaborate: The Art of We” http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Sanker/e/B005Y5S1WA/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1, (June 23, 2012)
Trevor J. Dodds, Betty J. Mohler, Heinrich H. Bülthoff. Talk to the Virtual Hands: Self-Animated Avatars Improve Communication in Head-Mounted Display Virtual Environments. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (10): e25759 DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0025759 (June 23, 2012)
–Joy Bolluyt, Owner, President and Lead Consultant of Manageta. “Command Your Vision … Experience the Power of a Team!”
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Joy A. Bolluyt © Copyright 2012. WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include: Joy Bolluyt, Owner, President and Lead Consultant, Manageta, is an online business consultant, certified online business manager and virtual teaming expert. She works with highly motivated consultants, business owners, and entrepreneurs that want to GROW their business and take back their LIFE! To schedule a complimentary consult, go to https://my.timedriver.com/L4B6G and visit Blog: http://manageta.comby