Top 6 signs your collaboration needs an overhaul

Reading time: about 8 min


  • Collaboration skills
  • Visual collaboration

No surprise: Effective collaboration is extremely important to your business. And probably even more than you may realize. Team members working in jobs with high collaboration report nearly a 30% increase in job satisfaction, almost a 20% decrease in turnover intent, and they’re 50% more likely to complete a task successfully.

And also no surprise: The workplace has changed drastically over the past few years, from the rise of hybrid and remote work to more tools and apps than ever before that tout the ability to boost collaboration. But with such a rapidly changing landscape and so many collaboration options out there, it can be easy to get stuck in outdated, inefficient ways of working. Add in our nature to habituate, and we may not even realize if one of our processes, procedures, or tools needs an update. Nostalgia is all the rage, but if your tech stack and collaboration are outdated, you’re simply not getting the results you could—and deserve—to be getting.

We get it. It can be a difficult and time-consuming landscape to navigate, so it’s human nature to just keep doing what we’ve always done instead of questioning whether there is a better way. Luckily, we are here to help. In this article, we’ll share signs that your collaboration may not be as effective as it could be. Plus, we’ll offer our best tips and resources to seamlessly remedy that, so you can ensure you (and your team) are getting the best results possible.

Six signs that your collaboration isn’t effective

1. You’re having a lot of meetings

Meetings are necessary and they’re not innately bad, but if you feel like your days are filled with them, chances are you may not be collaborating as efficiently as you could be. And if you’re having a lot of follow-up meetings or noticing that you’re covering similar information across multiple meetings, the problem only compounds.

Research shows that 3.6 hours per individual weekly are lost to unnecessary meetings, and US businesses report spending a whopping $37 billion on meetings annually. So extraneous meetings aren’t just a nuisance or something that comes with the territory of a job, they are actually costing your business a significant amount of time and money. And more meetings don’t automatically equate to more (or better) collaboration. Often, the excessive meeting fatigue is actually preventing you from working your best.

Luckily, while the fix may not happen overnight, it’s not overly complicated either. Thinking critically about each recurring meeting you hold is a great place to start, then considering whether or not you really need those extra meetings should be next.

We can walk you through it! Follow our flowchart to decide if you really need a meeting.

Check it out

Asynchronous collaboration—or collaborating on your own time vs. simultaneously as a team— is a perfect alternative. Whether you’re utilizing visual collaboration software, messaging apps, or another platform to communicate, async collaboration allows you to cut extraneous meetings without losing valuable collaboration. In fact, in some situations, the collaboration will actually become more valuable because it gives your team members time back, boosts efficiency, decreases the pressure of coming up with on-the-spot ideas and reactions, and reduces meeting fatigue.

Learn more about asynchronous collaboration and how to implement it with our guide.

Read now

2. Your meetings aren’t well organized

Of course, not all meetings should be canceled. But if your meetings are frequently starting or running late, if you don’t always have an agenda, or if there isn’t a formalized note-taking (or documentation) process, you likely are not making the most of the meetings you do have. And that’s probably leading to more meetings in general, too. 

Your time is precious, and you deserve to maximize your meeting times. Documentation on a visual canvas that everyone has access to—where notes, action items, and decisions can be recorded during the meeting—is a must to ensure alignment and productivity. Additionally, an effective meeting agenda prepares attendees for discussion, encourages participation, and keeps your meeting focused (so you’re less likely to go over time).

Ready to optimize your meetings?

Check out our hacks

3. You’re sending documents back and forth or working from multiple versions of the same document

This is a practice that is so common it may not be questioned, but rest assured, there’s a better way! If you’re working from multiple versions of the same document or you send documents back and forth, you’re likely spending unnecessary time searching for the resources you need. This back and forth makes the chances of working from outdated resources go up, which will mean wasted time and redundant work. Plus, due to changing roles and turnover, you may feel unsure about who manages certain documents, wasting even more of your time tracking down document owners.

But a good single source of truth will propel your team’s best work. A single source of truth is a centralized repository for your team’s documents, data, and information. Once you have a one-stop shop for your team to easily add to and pull from, your team can:

  • Stop searching for information.

  • Save time on recurring tasks.

  • Avoid duplicate work.

  • Identify patterns within ideas and data.

Instead of asking around for documents or spending time searching through email chains, you’ll empower your team with confidence because they’ll know right where to go for answers every single time.

We can help you build a single source of truth that your team will actually use.

Explore our guide

4. You experience frequent misunderstandings on your team

Misplaced or duplicate documents are just one part of organizational misalignment. Experiencing frequent misunderstandings on your team can also be indicative of an issue.

There are many things this could look like, but it often involves frequently lacking clarity around project goals, timelines, and priorities. If you feel like you’re having to spend time seeking answers to basic questions on every project, or you often leave meetings without a clear direction, your team has a collaboration problem. 

These issues likely stem from not having a clear record of decisions or other project details. As mentioned, a single source of truth is helpful in solving that issue, but let’s take it one step further: Not all documentation is created equal, and the mere presence of documentation doesn’t automatically equate to clarity on your team. 

One of our best hacks for optimized documentation? Add visuals.

Similarly to how it’s easier to misinterpret text messages, you’re bound to interpret things differently when you’re only using text-based communication like emails or Slack on your team. Visuals help eliminate clarity issues, providing a shared language for teams to communicate quickly. With a glance, you can find understanding to confidently move forward on tasks and projects.

Discover different ways that visuals drive better decisions and help you do your best work.

Get started

5. You use spreadsheets for pretty much everything

Spreadsheets have been around for several decades and are great for inputting and analyzing large amounts of data, but they’ve grown to be used in many other ways, too.

The problem? Spreadsheets are difficult to use, overwhelming to look at, promote siloed work, and are highly error-prone. Plus, since they aren’t optimized for internal communication, you have to rely on other tools (Slack, email, etc.) to ask questions or communicate needed changes, and there is no way to set up dependencies or alerts. 

Again, spreadsheets have their place, but if you’re using them for other purposes (as visuals in presentations, as a means to collaborate, etc.), there is probably a better tool for you out there. 

Using a visual collaboration platform like Lucid can help you make sense of data in ways spreadsheets can’t, accelerating decision-making and driving innovation. It’s also far easier to get started in Lucid than a spreadsheet. Lucid is intuitive and leverages work you’ve already done instead of you having to manually input data. Plus, it offers a flexible workspace with dozens of features that promote unlimited ideation and creation.

Learn more about why you should rethink your use of spreadsheets and why Lucid is such a good alternative.

Go now

6. You hear from the same people in every meeting

And you’re not hearing from the same people in every meeting. If this is a problem in your org, you may think the same individuals just always have the best ideas or are the most outgoing, but the issue is probably more deeply rooted than that. 

It is likely indicative of an issue with collaboration equity, or offering all participants the same ability to contribute and communicate equally, regardless of whether they work in-office or remotely, have different collaboration styles, are at varying levels of seniority, are neurodivergent, etc.

Research shows there are three different collaboration styles, and team members with each style need different things to do their best work.

Check it out

If you aren’t collaborating equitably, you aren’t achieving the full potential of the people and teams you’re working with. Employees also may feel frustrated and dissatisfied or like their organization doesn’t value their input. It also means you’re getting fewer ideas and probably missing some of the best ones out there. 

Without collaboration equity, high-value collaboration simply isn’t possible. But with it, you’ll find more productive, fulfilling ideation sessions and meetings, more satisfied employees, and a more equitable workplace overall.

Get our best ideas for promoting collaboration equity in your org.

Read the guide

The solution to all of the above? Visual collaboration. 

If you’ve noticed a trend, you’re not wrong—according to our research, making your collaboration visual solves the majority of collaboration woes. Learning more about visual collaboration and taking steps to implement it is the perfect way to overhaul any piece of your collaboration that needs it.

Visual collaboration is much more than a buzzword. Learn how to make your collaboration visual.

Get started

About Lucid

Lucid Software is a pioneer and leader in visual collaboration dedicated to helping teams build the future. With its products—Lucidchart, Lucidspark, and Lucidscale—teams are supported from ideation to execution and are empowered to align around a shared vision, clarify complexity, and collaborate visually, no matter where they are. Lucid is proud to serve top businesses around the world, including customers such as Google, GE, and NBC Universal, and 99% of the Fortune 500. Lucid partners with industry leaders, including Google, Atlassian, and Microsoft. Since its founding, Lucid has received numerous awards for its products, business, and workplace culture. For more information, visit

Related articles

  • 5 red flags to look out for when evaluating visual collaboration platforms

    Learn how to uncover critical weaknesses in visual collaboration platforms before you commit.

  • How visual collaboration helps you connect in a hybrid work environment

    In this blog post, we’ll dive into ways that you can stay connected in a hybrid work environment and embrace the Next Normal.

  • The go-to toolkit for effortless documentation

    To get you started with collaborating visually and documenting as you go, we’ve compiled a toolkit of templates for common use cases.

  • Using the Lucid Visual Collaboration Platform as a single source of truth

    See our list of tips and features to help you get the most out of the Lucid Visual Collaboration Platform and make it a place where you and your team can go to find up-to-date documentation.

Bring your bright ideas to life.

Sign up free

or continue with

Sign in with GoogleSign inSign in with MicrosoftSign inSign in with SlackSign in

By registering, you agree to our Terms of Service and you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Privacy Policy.

Get Started

  • Contact Sales


  • Lucidspark
  • Lucidchart
  • Lucidscale
PrivacyLegalCookie privacy choicesCookie policy

© 2024 Lucid Software Inc.