A key component of business agility is streamlined collaboration within and between teams. Recognizing and understanding how each team and role functions allows businesses to stay ahead of current competition and adapt to consumer needs and wants.
Lucid’s Chief Evangelist, Bryan Stallings, explains, “The word ‘agility’ is everywhere today. Organizations are adapting to incorporate agility in response to unprecedented uncertainty and complexity. Those that develop a capability for business agility more effectively sense the need for change, and then adapt at a responsive pace that enables them to create a sustained competitive advantage.”
By focusing on facilitating effective collaboration, businesses can help motivate a productive workforce, educate employees on the importance of digital technology, and ensure employees have the correct training and skills to work more productively and achieve business agility.
Let's dig into why collaboration is key to business agility and the benefits of streamlined collaboration across the organization.
Why business agility depends on collaboration
Effective collaboration has long been a cornerstone of the most successful businesses. We know that business innovation doesn't thrive in isolation. Research from McKinsey finds that organizations that implement collaborative techniques through technology or other processes see up to 30% increased productivity.
Organizations that can find ways to work cross-functionally and tap into the collective power of their people will unleash new ways of thinking and problem-solving.
Previously, organizational silos challenged this type of collaboration, which led leaders to experiment with new democratized floor plans and Agile workflows to encourage teamwork and collaboration. Now, our changing, post-COVID workplace realities further challenge those solutions.
While some organizations have begun slow returns to the in-person office, others have decided to move fully remote for the foreseeable future. While technology and process innovations have shown business can move forward remotely, it's still important to consider the inevitable loss of face-to-face interactions and collaboration that pre-COVID workplace innovators fought to implement.
Benefits of streamlined collaboration in the Next Normal
Collaboration works best when your team is structured to promote communication and innovation. Teams who collaborate well are more engaged and maintain a stronger sense of ownership. It also becomes easier to align employees to larger changes at the organization and help them update their skills accordingly.
Here are a few ways effective collaboration can help your business remain agile and your employees connected and engaged in the Next Normal.
Support a generation of remote workers
Even before the pandemic hit, more and more workplaces encouraged remote ways of working. The pandemic, however, sped up that trend and forced organizations to take giant steps toward implementing a remote workforce.
Now, many employees are well-versed in remote work, and a portion of that workforce is likely to favor remote working opportunities even in a post-pandemic world. It will be necessary for organizations to support a remote structure so that when employees do work off-site, they have the systems and tools in place to maintain their productivity without missing a beat.
Connect employees, partners, and customers from across the world
Teams are often spread out across different time zones and continents, making it challenging to develop a rapport with colleagues and align on team direction. However, visual collaboration solutions can make hybrid work easier.
Bryan Stallings, notes, “Ideally, should be able to happen in real-time (synchronously) or at different times, as contributors are able to participate (asynchronously). Visual collaboration solutions also come with an advantage over individual note-taking: The visual work itself is a single source of truth that everyone can access at any time.”
Responsive platforms and agile workflows can help teams coordinate across different zones quickly and easily, while visual collaboration solutions can make it easier to connect with partners and team members so that you aren't limited to emailing documents back and forth or simply collaborating over shared cloud documents.
Increased employee engagement and productivity
Easier and more frequent collaboration inspires employees to voice their thoughts. That generates all kinds of benefits, including employees who are more invested in the team's success and inclined to act collaboratively to ensure project success. It also means team members have a better context for how their work contributes to the larger mission, creating greater interest in their assignments and a higher sense of satisfaction on the job.
Access to the right skills and expertise
Once you know the team's capabilities, it's easier to identify the skills and information needed to succeed. Trainings and webinars are much easier to coordinate with streamlined collaboration, meaning your team can stay abreast of new technology, new processes, and new tools even as the industry landscape is changing.
Telemedicine, for example, became a vital resource for the healthcare industry as people attempted to manage their health while social distancing and sheltering in place. Hospitals and doctors’ offices needed to implement telemedicine platforms in a matter of weeks to keep their businesses running and meet patient needs safely. Collaboration tools helped medical teams align quickly, efficiently, and in real time to identify telemedicine technologies, choose a platform, and train staff on how to use it.
Understanding each other's role in creating an agile environment
Projects often break down when team members don't understand how the various parts ladder up to the whole. Increased collaboration can provide teams with a more well-rounded perspective on how their contribution helps the larger organization remain agile and responsive. As a result, respect for deadlines and dependencies increases, and team members are more likely to ensure that partners and stakeholders have what they need from them.
Consider, for example, the dependencies around a product development team. During new product feature rollouts, several groups depend on each other's progress to ensure smooth implementation. Teams who embrace agile ways of working can quickly adapt to any roadblocks or changing timelines and keep projects moving forward.
What your collaborative environment should include
Employees are doing more work outside of the traditional hours of 9 to 5, particularly when they work remotely. Cloud-based and visual collaboration tools ensure important documents and resources are available 24/7 across global teams.
Having access to information is moot if it's not current and up to date. Tools and platforms that allow for live collaboration and updates help ensure that your teams and their stakeholders work from the same pool of information and thus achieve relevant and accurate results. There must be a clear path to sharing information in real time regardless of a team member's location.
Asynchronous opportunities for collaboration
Reducing the time commitment for collaboration vastly improves efficiency and often increases participation among teams. The best way to achieve this is to make daily standups and check-ins asynchronous so that teams can quickly provide status updates at the best time for them while still giving the group the information they need to move projects forward.
Without an asynchronous approach, you risk slowing down the process in the name of getting everyone on the same page at the same time.
Desktop and mobile compatibility
The Next Normal is really about being in two places at once: your home, train ride, or local coffee shop may double as an office at any given point. It's important to have tools that can run on various platforms so that your team can do their work no matter where they are. It's also an expectation for more collaborative and more engaged teams—if they are committed to doing the work, they will need to access their work at any time, from any place.
The more you invest in facilitating streamlined collaboration opportunities for teams across your organization, the greater your resulting business agility. And the more you can embrace agility? Well, that’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Curious to learn more about how Lucid can streamline collaboration across your org?Connect with us
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 lucid.co.
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