Yesterday I wrote about some traps organisations can become ensnared in when attempting to collaborate better. The gist was that collaborating for the sake of collaborating can often lead to worse results than if you had not bothered in the first place. As with any social based activity, the key is to have a clear purpose for the work you’re doing, and to subsequently have a clear way of measuring success or not.
Here are three possible outcomes for your collaborative efforts.
Collaborative idea #1 – More sales
This one should be an obvious outcome for any business, but it often flies under the radar when it comes to collaboration. After all, collaboration is the creation of new ideas and products, right? Not always. Think about whether you can collaborate with other departments within your organisation to cross-sell your products to their customers.
When the sales teams across your organisation start to collaborate in this way it can give revenues a real kick. The problem of course is that many sales people are stuck in siloed thinking, with their commissions linked purely to their own sales. If managers can overcome this however, it can be very valuable indeed, and of course it’s a pretty easy thing to measure.
Collaborative idea #2 – More innovation
This one is a more common use for collaboration, but it still has the one crucial element for any successful program – an end product. With innovation in mind, this idea requires that product development teams from across your company work together to see how they can apply their own expertise in new ways. Remember that most new products aren’t truly revolutionary, but are merely old technologies applied in new ways, so if you can tap into the expertise throughout your organisation, this could give your product development a significant boost. Once again, measurement is quite straightforward.
Collaborative idea #3 – Better processes
Organisations typically improve by selling more, improving profit margins or reducing costs. It’s this third purpose that is the aim for this form of collaboration. It again suggests that greater communication and knowledge sharing can be done across the enterprise, but rather than sharing knowledge to sell more or create new products, we are instead interested in making our processes more efficient, and therefore saving money. With sound benchmarking of processes this kind of improvement can also be measured reasonably easily.
So three simple ways to collaborate and have some measurable gains (hopefully) at the end of it all.