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    Are You Getting Full Functionality from Your Team?

    on 3 May 2017

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    Posted by Franklin Williams-Smith
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    The world just keeps moving faster and faster – and we still find ourselves running out of patience. We complain when our microwaves take too long to heat up our lunch, forgetting that our parents took 45 minutes or more to bake a potato in an oven.

    We fidget when an HD video buffers on our screen, forgetting that our parents had to suffer through several minutes – and an annoying squeal – just to connect their computer to the internet. We prefer instant messaging apps to email. We get upset when our questions aren’t immediately answered. We risk hilarious consequences because we’d rather use autocorrect than actually type out a sentence.

    These examples might be a bit silly, but the principle remains true – and it shows up in our business as well. It almost goes without saying that we would like our teams to move faster, our processes to be more streamlined, our life-cycles to be shorter. The faster our workflow is, the sooner we see revenue.

    In order to realise the goals of speed, efficiency, and productivity, we have access to any number of tools to help us. Online collaboration software, ever-improving communication tools, the social web, and the like are transforming the way businesses share data. In addition, we’re seeing an ever-growing use of crowdsourcing platforms that increase our workforce flexibility exponentially.

    As our world continues to shrink, and more and more companies recognise the validity of a global perspective, these collaborative tools play an ever-larger role in the success of the forward-thinking business leader. And yet, not everyone is taking full advantage of the tools at their disposal. In fact, a recent Forrester Research report stated that 64% of executives believed that their companies were only using a small percentage of the functionality of their collaborative technologies.

    Why is that? One answer is that many companies are only using these technological tools to improve their communication. They’re sharing data, and they’re talking to each other more quickly – but they aren’t utilising the full potential of these tools to actually transform the way they do business. New collaborative advances aren’t just for making the old way we did things a little faster – they’re designed to give us new ways to do things.

    One strategy we can use is to actually implant these technologies into our business processes – they become part of the workflow. They help us set goals, assemble teams and perform tasks, and measure results, all within a shared platform accessible to all who need it. Team members can see the plan, share work and collaborate, find solutions to challenges, provide timely updates, and easily gather any needed approvals; and executives can take advantage of analytics to see the big picture, giving them the opportunity to make necessary adjustments immediately.

    Another strategy is to implement any change management principles necessary to encourage collaboration. It’s not enough to make these tools available – we need to shape behaviour and incentivise results. Always look for ways to improve the way these tools are used, and encourage team members to do the same… and reward them when they do. Find engaging ways to ensure that the tools are used appropriately, and clearly communicate the resulting successes.

    One last strategy is to embrace the global workforce. Collaboration tools have provided new avenues for teamwork. We’re seeing companies adopt new models that they would never before have been able to access. Collaboration isn’t just used within a company any longer: more and more organisations are reaching out to partners, vendors, colleagues, and others to help them move forward together. Companies are adjusting their relationships to their workforces by incorporating external, contingent, and specialised freelance workers. With the advances in the social web and crowdsourcing, it’s never been easier to offload work to people outside of the company. It’s easy to find specialists to cover specialised tasks, or additional bodies to react to sudden unexpected workloads. It’s even easier to find workers to perform lower-level jobs so that your internal employees can continue with their own more important duties.

    Consider the potential advantages this kind of collaboration can provide when it comes to more advanced knowledge-based work. For example, imagine an aerospace engineer in Austin could use a little expert help with a specific project. Enterprise collaborative tools exist that will publicise her request to specific sites. With that in place, a young hotshot fresh out of university in London or a retired engineer in Ft. Lauderdale would be able to offer a solution, find the specs to the problem, sign the appropriate NDAs and releases, and – when successful – receive payment along with recognition that could enhance his reputation and public profile. With tools like this, the skills gap could be a thing of the past.

    As that Forrester Report suggested, executives are expecting more out of their technology – and they’re right to do so. These collaboration tools will do more than just speed up the status quo. They can actually transform the way business is done on a fundamental level… as long as they’re used to their full potential.

    Glasscubes is a user-friendly collaboration software for teams. Connect everyone that you work with in an online workspace that improves the way you share files, manage projects and communicate with each other.

    For more information, contact us by calling +44 (0)20 3274 2310 or email us at enquiries@glasscubes.com

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