Collaboration skills are like sprinkles on the cupcake, aren’t they? I mean, collaboration. Really. The term is neither sexy nor exciting-sounding, is it?
At their best, workforce collaboration skills directly impact organizational productivity and profitability. At their worst, lack of these skills keep organizations operating at half the capacity of What is Possible.
If workplaces are built upon collaboration skills as aggregated values, processes, actions and mindset, magic happens. Otherwise, the workplace pays lip service to collaboration.
You know the drill. On the surface, you try to be “nice” to everyone. Occasionally. When you feel up to it. Or not. Cupcake sprinkles.
And smiles are valued as reinforcing workplace pleasantry. Yet, smiles are neither valuable nor synonymous with collaboration. More cupcake sprinkles. Then, the words “please,” “thank-you” and “have a nice day” always are welcome in any situation. However, again, these words often are uttered superficially. Still more cupcake sprinkles.
Trying to survive another meeting with the teams you are assigned to, again, is not a collaborative experience. You know as well as I do: mandatory team assignments often represent exercises in mutual tolerance, rather than collaborative creativity and innovation.
As a result, on a day-to-day basis, your organization or association is busy, working hard, to create tolerant and tolerable workplaces. However, everyone gets stuck inside their own departments, professional disciplines, pay grades and specific behaviors.
Ultimately, what types of customer experiences do these cupcake-sprinkle behaviors create?
Alternatively, a workforce built on collaboration skills focuses on making hard calls on behalf of better serving customers.
Today’s digitally-connected, globally competitive business ecosystem is a network. Machinery, software interfaces, processes and people are involved. And, in my experience serving clients, the software and machinery often collaborate far more effectively than do their human counterparts.
Think about it. The equipment and software are programmed for collaborative processes, error detection and customized productivity. Continuously. Not occasionally, when the machinery-software interfaces feel up to it.
Guess what? Something’s missing. People represent the fourth, critical component of connected business and manufacturing environments. Except, in many cases, no one tells them that collaboration skills are important.
Taken within this context, collaboration skills are mission-critical to a client-focused ecosystem.
Collaboration skills combine critical thinking skills with each worker’s ability to empathize and engage with co-workers who solve problems differently than they do.
The result? When employees understand how “what they do” is connected to “what everyone else does,” everyone understands the collective impact they have on productivity and profitability. The sum is greater than each of the individual component parts.
So how do you get from Where You Are Today to Where You Need To Be, Tomorrow and in the Future?
The distance seems daunting, doesn’t it? And that is because everyone is looking at changing everything simultaneously.
Wow. That concept makes even me dizzy.
The solution is only one millimeter away from where you stand, right now. Traveling the distance between What is Comfortable for you Today towards What is Possible for You Tomorrow is all that is involved. Your decision to move that tiny distance catalyzes you towards profitable collaboration.
What is the One Millimeter that you need to identify, name and traverse? Today.
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Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset™ speaking programs showcase how profitable collaboration between STEM professionals, knowledge workersprofessionals, knowledge workers and manual workers bridges customer experience gaps. Her professional speaker profile appears on the espeakers platform. She is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Babette’s Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.
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