- July 17, 2018
- in Digital Transformation
- by Sebastien Salou
From the Industrial Revolution to the Information Revolution: Team Collaboration Best Practices
Even though we’re in the age of information technology, most organizations today still rely on a way of working designed over 100 years ago for the challenges and opportunities of the industrial age. Many team structures still support routine and static jobs. Siloed, command, and control systems enable senior leadership to drive efficiency and predictability at the expense of free information flow, rapid learning, and adaptability.
Disrupt Yourself or Be Disrupted
Everyday traditional businesses are getting disrupted by the Ubers, Airbnbs, Teslas, and Netflixes of the world. The biggest threat to companies is the companies themselves, if you don’t get out of your own way. If you don’t learn, adapt, and respond rapidly, then your business is at risk. To be successful, companies need to transform into agile enterprises. They need to become fast moving, flexible, robust, and capable of rapid response to unexpected challenges, events, and opportunities.
Team Collaboration is Key to Agility
To be more responsive, you need to break down the internal silos between teams and departments and let information flow freely. Here are three best practices that will help you to be more agile and transform your business.
1. Stop using email to collaborate
Email is inefficient and wasn’t built for enterprise collaboration. Most business professionals spend way too much time checking emails. McKinsey's 2012 Social Economy report says that we spend about ¼ of the workday answering and sending email. We believe that at least 30% of that time could be saved if organizations were using a team collaboration tool. Email is too formal, and it also confusing because information gets lost in forwarded chains, CCs, and BCCs.
When you need to get work done, agile enterprises create group chats to bring together people from different departments/organizations so they can be constantly in sync, share information, quickly iterate, and deliver quality work in a record time.
Creating group chats for specific topics allow to keep a single conversation about this topic. If we're talking about a project, experts involved at different phases of the project can then join, leave or mute the group chat whenever they want avoiding noise and distraction created by email threads. It is also quick and easy to share content and take decisions in a group chat whether you are at your office using your laptop or on the go using your smartphone.
Many teams are migrating to group messaging or workstream collaboration to easily communicate around specific projects or tasks.
2. Break organizational boundaries
The top-down approach is not sustainable anymore, businesses need to open channels of communications internally but also externally. They need to organize themselves “as a network of employees, customers, and partners motivated by a shared purpose”. Think about how easy or difficult it is to get a conference call up and running with your independent contractor or freelancer. As the idea of a team moves beyond working in the same office or even for the same company, these become real-life challenges.
Group chat Guests is in my opinion the biggest benefit of a modern messaging solution. It allows your partners and customers to be an active member of the team designing/creating a product or service. You can only have satisfied customers if they are part of the decision processes. Customer support is also a use case where different parties work in different silos, sometimes time zones, and where resolution could take time only because people are not in sync. Having every parties in the same “room” sharing content and information can only accelerate resolution and thus increase customer satisfaction.
3. Meet through virtual workplaces
Employees are not centralized in one big office anymore, but most likely spread across the world which makes sharing information even more difficult.
Back in the 90s, a project team would book a dedicated meeting room for the duration of the project. They would then invite people in this room and have conversations, take notes, create content and take decisions during team meetings. At Fuze, we basically virtualized this experience and made it even more powerful because you can now have virtual teams composed by internal employees and external partners or customers each of them working from their own workplace anywhere in the world.
The group chat brings people together as a team but we encourage to escalate to real-time video collaboration to connect face-to-face, discuss, make decisions, and move forward, even if you are not all in the same room.