Collaboration and communication in the work place – the key to successful innovation and performance.
I have been struck recently by how many people have talked about the importance of networking and collaborative thinking. It seems as if a new emphasis is being placed on the way in which a group of people can contribute more creatively and imaginatively to the design and manufacture of new products; to the resolution of seemingly intractable problems and to the improvement of existing services or products, all of which give a better experience to the consumer or service user.
The trend over recent years has been to extol the virtues and values of individuals within an organisation; the top performers, the stars. But it can also be the case that this type of individualism ignores the value of group based ideas, and creating a critical mass of staff who, together, create new ways of adding value to the organisation.
The economic downturn has led to a more defensive attitude being taken by many staff, keen to ensure that they are recognised as a productive and positive member of the team and to reduce the chances of being made redundant. This, in turn, has led to fewer breaks being taken for coffee and lunch; fewer discussions in the corridor and less enthusiasm for the informal meetings that can be so productive and energising. Perhaps this is inevitable, but there should be some recognition of the benefits that a more informal approach can have. The social networks and collaborative working that can be found in some organisations are keys to their success, and the friendships made in the work place can enrich both the business focus and the personal fulfilment and enjoyment experienced by individuals and teams working for the business.
It is worth thinking about the value that a trusting and mutually supportive culture can bring to your organisation. People who feel that they work alongside bright, energetic people whose ideas they respect and respond to, are more likely to feel that their own bright ideas will be welcomed and developed, and what could be more motivating than that?
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