Collaboration is often the key to creativity and progress in business. However, busyness can sometimes get in the way of purposeful collaboration across an organization.
Finding time to brainstorm and work with other teammates can be a challenge when you’re bogged down with a lengthy to-do list, but it’s essential to prioritize cross-team communication if you want to move your business forward.
To offer guidance on where to start, a panel of Rolling Stone Culture Council members shared tips for breaking down the silos of your day-to-day work and improving collaboration within your organization.
Break Your ‘Independent’ Mindset
An independent mindset will hold you back. Some people have a tendency to work heads down, consumed with their day-to-day tasks. This strategy gets them to tomorrow, but it doesn’t get their organization closer to its longer-term mission. As a leader, you should not only have an understanding of what your personal work means, but also of what the work means for your company’s goals and how it moves your organization forward. – Matt Tuffuor, Toasted Life
Get on the Same Page About Outcomes and Deadlines
I have two tips: When collaborating, communicating your desired outcome early on is key. Both parties need to get on the same page from the get-go. The other tip is working around the same deadline and making sure both parties know it. In fact, putting the deadline into writing helps with reinforcing and adhering to it during the process. – Mehmet Dede, DromNYC
Place a Dollar Value on Creativity
Put a real dollar value on creation and creativity (it can be specific to a current problem that needs solving). As a business, when you place a dollar value on the creative process it becomes a lot easier to motivate you and your team to add time to the schedule every week for a collaborative meeting. Let your team know that value so they have a real sense of their contribution’s worth. – Stu Card, Savannah Taste Experience Food Tours
Allow for Questions After Daily Stand-Ups
Like many teams, we have dedicated daily stand-up meetings which serve to remove blockers, but I also make sure to keep 30 minutes free after the stand-up is meant to end in case there are any lingering issues or opportunities for collaboration among the team. I’ve found that we inadvertently find great ideas quickly during this time, in part because we’re also trying to get back to work! – Alexander Mitchell, Boomy Corporation
Create Opportunities for Cross-Team Collaboration
Schedule open-ended, no-agenda brainstorms with two groups that don’t often work together. Do this once a month at least. This will foster new relationships and build collaboration for you and the team while holding you accountable at the same time and possibly leading to some groundbreaking ideas! – John Tabis, The Bouqs Company
The Rolling Stone Culture Council is an invitation-only community for Influencers, Innovators and Creatives. Do I qualify?
Make Time for Building One-on-One Relationships
Seek out colleagues from whom you’d like to learn something and ask if they’ll share their knowledge with you (and be prepared to do the same so that their time is well spent). Get to know this person, laugh together, learn together, and when it comes time to collaborate, you’ll have already laid the groundwork for success. – Drew Silverstein, Amper Music
Assign a Buddy to New Hires
At Dagne Dover, we assign a buddy to each new hire. They are paired with a team member who works in another part of the business who has been at our company for a few years. We purposely pair the hire with someone who they do not work with, but who they can learn a lot from. This helps ensure the hire gets exposed to different skills, business contexts and a different side of the business. – Melissa Shin Mash, Dagne Dover
Leverage the Right Communication Tools
I think with the new norm of working from home that communication and project management tools (such as Slack and monday.com, which my team personally uses) are vital. Tools like these allow for quick communication and transparency across departments. – Vanessa Gabriel, Drop Delivery
It is hard to collaborate if you’re not organized. Build a system that eases the strain of your administrative duties. If you find yourself drowning in logistics and no longer working with your creative team, it’s time to change. Hire help or find better management tools. Creativity is king, so don’t sacrifice your company at the altar of business management. Have a system and be prepared. – Wes Meyers, Burning Tractor
Schedule Collaboration in to Your Day
As much as we’d like for collaboration to just happen, you need to plan for it! I suggest trying time blocking (calendar blocking) and setting regular, sacred times on the calendar to have conversations with those you want to collaborate with. If you plan for it, you’re more likely to collaborate in a strategic mode rather than a reactive mode. – Buck Wimberly, ULAH, LLC / ULAH Interiors + Design, LLC
Establish a Collaborative Process
When collaborating, especially on creative tasks or endeavors, it’s vital to have a set process that you agree on and adhere to. Have your team help develop those guardrails to ensure buy-in, but don’t forget to analyze how it’s working and evolve as necessary. Sticking to a process will set expectations, keep everyone focused on the task at hand and do so in an equitable way. – Brian Chin, p3 Maine
Create a Culture of Communication
The best way to avoid workplace silos is to create a culture of communication. Check in with your team about goals and blockers. You have to know what your team needs in order to empower them. Establishing all-hands meetings, team syncs and one-on-ones keeps everyone on task and aligned. – Lynn Rosenthal, Periscape
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