Fostering A Culture Of Collaboration

By | Small Business

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The words “business leader” may bring images to mind like a tough-minded military commander, or a turtleneck-wearing innovator. But good business leaders don’t achieve alone. They need the support of their teams. The best way to inspire that may be to foster a culture of collaboration, where ideas and creativity can flourish.

Granted, this is easier said than done. Here are a few ways to make the most out of a collaborative business meeting.

Embrace it

Even if the idea of open and free collaboration doesn’t come naturally, it’s probably time to make the change. Think about the benefits it could reap for you and your team, especially in a new business, as Peter Gasca writes for inc.com.

“By bringing people into your ‘circle’ and working with them, you will add much-needed expertise and cover areas of your new business where you are weakest,” writes Gasca. “More important, by simply having a sounding board that will listen to your idea and provide feedback, you may discover early in the process that your business concept simply does not work. At this point, while it’s still feasible, you can pivot in a new direction.”

Heightened creativity

Getting creative can be a major benefit to a collaborative meeting, and a free-flowing conversation can enhance outside-the-box thinking. As Lynda Moultry Belcher writes about this in a recent story for Demand Media.

“You are able to tap into the creative combination of several employees in one group,” writes Belcher. “The collection of different ideas, approaches to the project and brainstorms can spur innovative results that can in turn raise the visibility and quality of the products or services offered by your company.”

Revamp your space and technology

Here’s one that could be fun to ponder. The people involved in a collaborative effort are obviously the most important element. But the room itself could make a difference. It wasn’t long ago that video conferencing was something we only wondered about (as in “when will it happen?”). Now that it’s a relatively simple process, it allows for greater collaboration and drastically increased flexibility in who is involved. Rajeev Mishra examines this for entrepreneur.com.

“The conference room may be an easy place to meet but may not necessarily be fostering valuable collaborative output,” writes Mishra. “So consider reinventing the meeting space with new technology that is powerful and simple to use. Interactive projectors, web conferencing, annotation tools and audio/phone systems will jumpstart the brains of different types of thinkers.”

Emphasize team over individual

There may be some staff members that are uneasy about a collaboration session. Those with strong voices may fear that they’ll get lost in the shuffle. Others may worry they’ll have to jump in more than their comfort zone permits. A business leader that recognizes this can keep things moving and get everyone involved. Meghan M. Biro writes about this in a story for Forbes.

“Collaboration isn’t about giving up your individuality,” writes Biro. “Quite the opposite: It’s about realizing your potential. It’s about bringing your many gifts to the table and sharing them in pursuit of a common goal. It’s about bringing your ideas, your passion, your mind, heart and soul to your leadership and culture. What it isn’t about is an inflated ego, a thin skin, a closed mind. In today’s roiling, racing, collaborative, diverse and thrilling global business economy, these are nothing less than career, leadership, and workplace culture killers.”

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Fostering A Culture Of Collaboration

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