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Four Modes of Collaboration

A simple answer to ‘how to do more with less’

Technology + Change in Human Behavior = Competitive AdvantageThere is a misconception that technology gives your business a competitive advantage. In many ways, it’s an easy assumption to make; however, a large piece is missing from the equation. That missing piece is human behavior.

Technology is an enabler. The true difference between successful and unsuccessful projects (especially involving a move in technology) lies in whether or not you can change human behavior. When you succeed in motivating every one of your end users to use, and love, the technology platform they’re given, then you can increase productivity, lower expenses, and scale your business in the most efficient way possible. Then, and only then, does your business stand a chance of having a competitive advantage.

We have found that our most successful clients are able to change behavior building a grassroots organization structure via collaboration to encourage “working better, together.”

I have been an agent of change my entire career, striving to know the secret to changing behaviors. Based on a variety of experiences, I’ve found four specific modes of collaboration that are necessary to succeed in this kind of change. By weaving these modes of collaboration into your everyday flow, you can dramatically help that change in behavior through group participation.

  1. Planned Collaboration

    This is usually strategic in nature and involves setting up meetings, giving access to documents, facilities and plans.

    Do you know how you can make these processes seamless in your environment?

  2. Just in Time (JIT) On Demand Interactions

    These types of interactions are when you need a specific answer to a specific question immediately, such as when you are talking to a prospect on the phone or are in a meeting and you need to bring in some outside expertise.

    Are these interactions happening in your environment now?

    Are they happening in a way that you capture the intellectual property?

    Do you have these as ‘action items’ in your meetings for follow-up, or are you able to answer them in real-time?

    Are these answers easily shareable in a knowledge base?

  3. Progressive Engagement

    These types of engagements are generally driven by trying to bring clarity to those who are communicating back and forth too many times. Progressive engagement tries to shortcut the waste of everyone’s valuable time. It’s an easy way to communicate effectively without frustration.

    When you encounter this type of communication issue, do you generally have to schedule a meeting or can you handle it in a more timely manner?

    Do you have many email threads going back and forth, while the conversation seems to be going nowhere? How do you make your team more effective?

  4. Curiosity

    These types of searches are generally done when you are trying to problem solve, looking for new ways of doing things or simply wondering.

    Does your organization have a seamless way to find information?

    Is there an easy way to add information to these repositories?

    How does your organization collaborate? Are you able to measure collaboration and the effect it has on time savings and on getting things done?


These questions are meant to get you thinking critically about the way you and your teams are currently working. To find out more about any of these topics, feel free to contact me directly.

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Originally published on March 12, 2015

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