Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

Work in Pairs

Problem:

You want to bounce ideas off of someone else, but everyone is so busy.  Also, some people appear to be slacking in their projects because there’s no real accountability.

Solution:

Work in pairs.  Give a project or a pretty meaty task to two people and have them work together to get it done.

They can decide how they split up smaller tasks among themselves, they can bounce ideas and suggestions off of each other, and they can be accountable to one another for getting stuff done.

Two heads are always better than one, so by collectively picking a strategy or tactics to accomplish your task, you’ll usually come up with something better than you would have by yourself.

And when you’re working closely with a peer, there is a certain amount of accountability because you know what each other is supposed to be doing.  There’s no slacking off.

Of course, you must avoid the politics and positioning and selfish competitive stuff that happens among coworkers.  Both individuals should be given equal credit for the accomplishment of a successful project or task.

Some people or personalities may work better together than others, so be aware of this dynamic and don’t keep people together for extended periods of time, unless they specifically request it.  Even then, pairs should be rotated so that everyone has a chance to work with multiple people.

There are probably additional benefits to this tactic.  Can you think of any?

Break Artificial Boundaries

Problem: 

Your corporate organizational structure creates silos that prevent collaboration between people who may work on similar items or have similar interests.

Solution:

Does your boss care what you eat for lunch?  Does he or she care who you eat with?

If the answer is ‘no’, then schedule a lunchtime forum and invite all the people you want to collaborate with.  Create flyers, send them to multiple email distribution lists, make it look like a big initiative.  Tell everyone to bring their own lunch and that you’re going to discuss a particular topic.  Don’t stress out about a polished presentation, the main point is to get to know people’s names.

You could even just show up and say, “I just wanted to get your thoughts on this particular subject.”  Or, “I know we’re in different organizations, but I thought it would be beneficial for us to know each other and share what we’re working on so we can help each other out if we need to.”

You can figure out what will work best in your situation.  And you don’t have to ask permission because your boss doesn’t care what you do during lunch, right?  If it’s beneficial and actually improves things, what boss wouldn’t want you to do that?

Breaking artificial boundaries is easy, especially since they are artificial.