Barriers to effective collaboration and how to avoid them. For the time poor.

Collaboration is only effective when it’s taken seriously by all parties involved across all levels of the business. The definition of what collaborative behaviour is tends to be as varied as a day is long. Whether it is actually their fault or not management or project leads are usually the first to take the blame if collaboration fails. Whilst it can be difficult to break engrained patterns of anti-collaborative behaviour we have designed a run sheet for anyone taking the lead to break the cycle.


steps for better collaboration

  1. Collaboration is the way you do things. Start with yourself before pointing fingers.
  2. Pick the right people. Think carefully about outcomes and who you need to involve. Collaboration doesn’t mean mass meetings. The fewer the better.
  3. Collaboration is about trust. Take the leap. Show that you trust your colleagues, suppliers, and even your customers. Don’t micromanage.
  4. Listen to all stakeholders. Find out what the barriers are. Don’t jump to conclusions. Absorb, then develop your plan. Share your plan. Be open to criticism. Ignore it when necessary, but don’t lose your cool or make others feel small.
  5. Be supportive. You will be surprised what can happen in return.
  6. Be persistent. Collaboration takes time and doesn’t happen over night. Setbacks will happen. Deal with it. Adjust plans where necessary.
  7. Train people who are having a hard time adapting. They need time to develop trust and a more collaborative attitude. If someone’s attitude impacts the team, address it directly in private conversation.
  8. Share progress, not just success. Make everyone take ownership of the result and be willing to admit your own faults first. Highlight areas for improvement and present a plan on how to get there.

Did we miss anything? What’s your secret to better collaboration?