Something’s on overload – but it’s not collaboration
- Meeting norms are weak or lacking – A meeting topic might be established, but no agenda is published in advance to allow people to prepare, evaluate materials, ahead of time. Since people are in back-to-back meetings, there’s no time for people to prepare or publish status or project updates in other, asynchronous formats, so additional meeting time is needed for status updates (for which half the attendees may not find relevant to their portion of the project).
- Collaboration or project norms are weak or lacking – Got a project? Set up a recurring meeting. New projects or new matrix teams often don’t spend a little time at the beginning of joint work to set up simple collaboration norms. Here are some questions that project teams might ask in order to streamline or eliminate meetings.
- What tools should we use to communicate and capture project activities? How should we tag and distribute content so it is consistently findable and people receive timely alerts for new content? Who should be in project meetings? Do we need to meeting regularly? If so, do we all need to be at every meeting? Can we structure the meetings in a way that we use that meeting time to address things that we cannot accomplish as well using other collaboration tools?
- Part of a work product includes connecting it to and making it findable on a network (link-ability, tagging, connecting to social profiles)
- Part of collaboration means consciously adapting to more transparent ways of working (Working Out Loud)
- Part of team work includes establishing collaborative norms (which tools and modalities for which contexts)
- Part of knowledge worker productivity includes proactively managing flows of information, bringing elements like activity streams and tagged content into their realm of access and awareness.
All collaboration is not equal – contexts for collaboration
In discussing challenges to collaboration or identifying ways to help individuals and organizations to engage in collaboration more productively, it’s important to be clear about the contexts for collaboration.
Knowledge workers (and this includes leadership) inside organizations have to span these contexts and must
- be competent in being able to productively contribute to complex business processes and team projects employing digital and social tools and skills
- be able to develop relationships and participate effectively in knowledge networks to advance their continual learning and skills development and to advance the knowledge capital of the broader organization.
- deftly cultivate, navigate and participate in wider networks for broader insight to emergent and related knowledge fields and access to expertise beyond organizational boundaries.