Use different perspectives to get more done

drop-team collaboration has never been more important in the workplace, but getting it right isn’t easy. When an organization lacks collaboration and teamwork skills, it often ends up functioning as a collection of silos. Inconsistencies, narrow viewpoints and competition between groups will eventually result in lost opportunities”and lost money.

With all the collaboration and social tools we now have access to, you might think the problem of isolated functions operating in a vacuum is a thing of the past. It’s not. According to IDC the average knowledge worker spends 15% to 30% of their time just looking for information.86% blame workplace failures on lack of collaboration

That’s a serious productivity cost with potentially far-reaching consequences, and companies are feeling the impact: Eighty-six percent of respondents in a Fierce Inc. survey blamed workplace failures on lack of collaboration or ineffective communication. But a strong commitment to group collaboration is no guarantee the organization will benefit from it. Endless, free-wheeling discussions and idea sharing without the decision-making skills and accountability to back them up will only drain time and resources. The result: Slow progress and poorly executed projects”if they get off the ground at all.

These pitfalls are becoming even more pronounced as today’s complex issues and projects are requiring collaboration across functions and large, dispersed groups. We’re deliberately bringing together the “best minds” and diverse specialists to handle these challenging issues, but, according to recent team research, it’s those very qualities that can end up getting in the way of the group’s progress.

A large majority of today’s workplace spends a high percentage of its time in team-related activities, and this trend is only expected to escalate, according Jeanne Meister, co-author of “The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today.” The organization’s success depends on their ability to collaborate; we need to make sure they have the tools to deliver.

The Key to Effective Business Collaboration

Effective business collaboration isn’t just about what people know; it’s about how they think. Whether they’re newly formed, well established, virtual or working cross-functionally, teams perform at their best and get more done when they can adapt their communications to the thinking styles of others and tap into the full diversity of thinking available to them.

As projects become more complex, we need all of that thinking working together. We need the task-driven thinking as well as the interpersonal thinking; the analytical deliberation as well as the visionary risk-taking. In fact, a six-year study at the U.S. Forest Service found that 70% or more of the teams were “successful” when they had all thinking styles represented, versus 30% or fewer when they didn’t. But you have to do more than just bring together that diversity.

Our research has shown that mentally diverse groups can be extremely creative and effective. The key to success is taking the steps and time necessary to find synergy. It’s not enough to understand one’s own thinking preferences; people have to build the thinking agility to adapt to others’ preferences, optimize their collaborative work flow and recognize when different thinking is needed.

Despite the overabundance of “feel-good” teambuilding exercises out there, there’s more to successful collaboration than just making sure people get along with each other. A thinking-based approach helps team members understand the factors that will drive their performance and how to make sure what they’re doing on a daily basis, both individually and as a group, is the most productive and effective it can be.

A Whole Brain® Approach to Improving Collaboration

With its balance between scientific theory and everyday ease of use, the Whole Brain® Thinking System gives people a consistent framework they can apply to any collaborative initiative, project or meeting to avoid the typical problems that hamper team collaboration. Because it’s an approach that’s grounded in thinking, there’s no judgment or pigeonholing, and that means people can move quickly to the task at hand. Using the common language of Whole Brain® Thinking, teams are able to:

  • Overcome silo mentalities and organizational inconsistencies
  • Save time by using a shorthand to describe and address situations and issues
  • Run more efficient meetings while increasing participation, ideas and outcomes
  • Strengthen relationships so they can take full advantage of their collective intelligence
  • Improve communication on teams and increase performance
  • Generate and synthesize new ideas while having the plan and process in place to fully execute on them

Need More Collaboration?

Learn how to collaborate effectively and draw on your team’s thinking diversity

Discover How Your Team Thinks

From pair profiles to team reports, the HBDI® gives you insight into better thinking