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Communication and Collaboration

What makes good collaboration? 10 real-world tips

Intranet software offers a huge improvement over the tools many people use to collaborate, but software itself is only part of the puzzle.

4 minute read
workplace collaboration tips
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Updated September 23rd, 2021. Intranet software can improve collaboration, but we often lose sight of the fact that good collaboration ultimately depends on people, not technology.

Here are ten real-world collaboration tips that will help you at your work.

  1. Constantly clarify roles, especially in meetings

    “Who’s facilitating the meeting? Who’s noting the next steps?” Overlapping or unclear roles lead to confusion, duplicate efforts, and oversights in follow-up. This is especially important for video meetings that don’t have the same post-meeting hallway discussion opportunities as in-person meetings.

  2. Explicitly state responsibilities

    Avoid saying “we’ll do X” because then it might never happen. Whenever there is a follow up item, state the single person responsible as well as the due date.

  3. Be honest about mistakes

    Leadership sets the tone for the organization. If they admit mistakes and expect team members to call them out when they violate team norms, then they will set a powerful example for accountability.

    What collaboration really means

    Learn about the true nature of collaboration and explore its many dimensions.

    What collaboration really means
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  4. Go into the conflict zone, respectfully

    In his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni lists “fear of conflict” as dysfunction #2, and offers tips on how teams can deal with conflict effectively. Conflict is important — deftly handling it can expose important problems, help team members improve their performance, improve the employee experience, and bring people closer together.

  5. Identify who’s responsible for each decision & how it will be made

    Is this agenda item a group decision, or is someone trying to gather input for their decision? Does everyone need to agree, or will 3-out-of-5 be enough to decide? Lack of clarity here leads to false assumptions, wandering discussions, and confusion.

  6. Create an online workspace, together (especially in a remote or hybrid workplace setting)

    Work together as a team to understand and learn how to use intranet software. This joint process will lead to stronger intranet adoption and increased accountability.

  7. Managers: Exemplify collaboration software use

    If a team is shifting to a new collaboration tool, the surest way to fail is for the manager to not use it. Many of our customers have heavy involvement from their leadership on intranet initiatives, which plays a huge role in their adoption success! For example, the President at publishing company PCI uses the intranet to promote his daily blog.  

  8. Craft simple, outcome-oriented goals

    The more complicated a goal is, the more room for interpretation and extrapolation. Go the extra mile to make your goals simple and concrete. Outcome-oriented goals focus on results rather than just products and can provide greater clarity and focus.

  9. Consistently review team/project goals

    By constantly re-stating your goals you can keep the team’s efforts focused when opportunities and decisions arise and keep a tight grasp on the scope of your efforts.

  10. Discuss how the team’s goals tie into the organization’s goals

    By linking a team’s or project’s goals to larger company goals you can find inspiration and a higher sense of purpose. Everyone on the team will feel they are playing a meaningful role.

Collaboration examples

These aren’t the types of simple collaboration tips you can implement without any thought. All of them require some planning, courage, and commitment

Success Evidence Success Evidence Examples
  • Reduced travel expenses for internal meetings.
  • Reduced printing costs with online forms.
  • Employees store documents on the intranet instead of the shared drive.
  • Employees make fewer errors on routine processes.
  • Employees express satisfaction with the new intranet.
  • Internal communications expresses delight with new functionality and tools.
  • Pages load more quickly than the old intranet.
  • Employees no longer have to involve IT.
  • Reduced time required to submit expenses.
  • Customers receive more consistent and accurate information.

Intranet software offers a huge improvement over the tools many people use to collaborate, but software itself is only part of the puzzle.

And collaboration tips are great but the real value surfaces when you also have the courage to change people’s habits and ways of working together. Do that and you’ll amplify the power of your intranet software.