Identify, Avoid and Capitalize on Two Collaboration Traps

Digital collaborative tools are becoming part of our everyday work environment and are there to help us be efficient and effective. However, if you aren’t careful you can instead fall into traps that lead to the exact opposite effect. This insight highlights two key traps and what you can do instead to turn them into value.

(Too) simple to add

Getting the right tools up and running for digital collaboration and modern knowledge landscapes has become an easy task and you may find them popping up by themselves in different parts of your organisation. Subscription based service models make them easy to introduce without even involving IT, but your IT organisation may also be a helpful sponsor of an a’ la carte of tools for all tastes.

The tools themselves are almost always powerful with user friendly functionality that you can easily learn and get going in a short time. If you look, you may find a tool for practically any need.

Regardless of whether your IT department is the provider, or if your business organisation buys them directly, the irony is that the tools may now have become too easy to add.

When different groups start using digital collaboration tools without a common structure, it’s very likely that cross organisation collaboration has been made harder and the organisational silos you wanted to break down has instead become strengthened.

Our advice:
Don’t be fooled in to the evolutionary implementation method of just providing/allowing tools to everyone free to use as they see fit. The garden can easily turn into an unmanageable jungle and people from different parts of the organisation will not meet. The investment may well have a negative net effect.

Instead, use the time freed up by technically easier tool introduction to help secure that the strategic direction, business structure and culture you define really succeeds.

Everyone else does it

A key driving force for a modern digital workplace is talent attraction. Future workforces will not accept inferior work tools. This cause many organisations with low digital maturity to try catch up rapidly when they hear key talents telling management that everyone else has come further.

And they are right. Digital collaboration is an essential cornerstone in creating a digitally mature agile organisation with the capacity to evolve with rapidly changing markets.

However, stressed implementations with the main reason that everyone else is doing it and we need to catch up has very little chances of success and is often strategically unsound.

Our advice:
Find comfort in the fact that the tools are powerful and can rapidly be introduced and use this fact to find the time to first reflect on the right strategy and structures. Take a stepwise approach with clear aims defined.

Let important work teams with high collaboration needs be the first ones to test your structures, reflect, adapt. Once this has been carried out, roll out your refined structure team by team and after a while the momentum will make it cascade with a common structure being introduced in your organisation.

A strategic and structured team by team approach will make it possible to delivery on the promise of digital collaboration. Likely you will both get further and faster than if you just did it stressed to “catch up”.

 

Authors: Pierre Jarméus and Per Appelgren

 

For further reading about successful strategies for digital collaboration, please read:

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