Depending on where we sit around the business table, we see the same things, differently. I’ve employed collaboration tools in starting a lively discussion in a LinkedIn engineering forum about whether the VP of Sales should run the next Engineering meeting. Alternatively, should the VP of Engineering run the next Sales meeting?
You do this daily. You know it’s not easy to put yourself in your customer’s and prospect’s shoes and walk around. Ultimately, these are the same shoes you, yourself wear, everyday. When the shoes are on the other person’s feet, however, they look and sound so very different from your pair of shoes, don’t they? It’s hard to believe you have anything in common with your counterparts sitting on the other side of the business table. That’s where an arsenal of collaboration tools comes into play.
Perhaps you are in sales or engineering, operations or finance, marketing and sales, you name it – those disciplines that, traditionally, are “at odds” with one another during the course of business. Multi-discipline meetings are viewed as something to be tolerated and survived, rather than a productive collaboration. There are too many folks in companies who recall “the way things were” in the post-industrial economy that preceded the events of 2001 and the eventual economic meltdown of 2008. There are too many folks who want to rush out and get on with things too quickly, making decisions that are poorly vetted and validated. Time to use collaboration tools to get things “unstuck.”
How do you overcome business-based, multi-generational, multi-disciplinary discrepancies in point of view, perception, and mental discipline (analytical vs. subjective)? (that’s a mouthful?) How do you arrive at productive, innovative and profitable working relationships? How do you sell to, or work for or with, individuals who were neither education nor trained the same way you were? Yup, you got it. Turn to your collaboration tools to get everyone focused and productive.
Here are 5 collaboration tools for learning to enjoy the view from the other person’s side of the business table.
- Your colleagues wear the same shoes you wear. They have a lot of the same things on their minds as you do. A lot of these aspects are behind-the scene and offline, yet they can derail decision- making. Take the time to be anticipatory and proactive about what factors into their mindset and decision making. Prepare your delivery with these factors in mind. Use this collaboration tool daily.
- Your colleagues are trying to solve problems, just as you are. You both are directed towards designing and implementing a solution for the customer. You have different tools in your respective toolkits; learn more about how to use each other’s collaboration tools.
- Your colleagues come up against roadblocks, just as you do. There are internal naysayers who want to maintain the status quo and block forward progress of designs, campaigns, and innovations that excite and inspire them. Determine which collaboration tools are necessary to be anticipatory and proactive.
- Your colleagues may want to find out what the view looks like from your side of the business table. However, corporate culture, time commitment, legacy business models, and other factors appear daunting. Make the time to change seats at the table and take a look around at what you look like from their perspective. Your arsenals of collaboration tools will help you do this.
- Your collaboration tools enhance your skill sets, your deliverables, and the value of the outcomes you produce. Your perspective of the business table gains a 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view of the business landscape when put yourself in their shoes and take a walk around. From that enhanced perspective, you can choose to create robust deliverables.
Does this scenario sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be this way. By moving yourself 1 millimeter outside of your respective comfort levels, you and your colleagues can gradually move outside of the status quo. Collaboration tools give you a leg up to chart a course which moves everyone forward, together.
What might the impact of using collaboration tools be on revenue generation for not only your company, but your customers’ businesses?
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, traverses the sales-engineering interface®, bringing entrepreneurial mojo to small and mid-sized Seller-Doer businesses and revenue-producing business strategies to startups. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business, provides a solid set of collaboration tools for today’s cross-functional business environment.