Does collaboration really make a difference in the workplace? Does it make a difference for our clients? Does it make a difference in how everyone feels about their work family? Does it make a difference in how well they do their jobs?
Learned through a recent experience, my answer is yes. A few weeks ago, my team knew we had a major deadline on the horizon. So, we decided to work together and complete any work that could already be done ahead of time, in an effort to clear our plates as much as possible. Though I would hate to see our workload if we wouldn’t have done that, all that preparation still wasn’t enough for the storm that was about to hit.
But this is where collaboration made a difference. We had already set the stage when we all put in the work to get prepared ahead of time. That commitment to the team spilled over when the going got tough. We immediately chipped in where we could, sharing helpful work papers and knowledge. When one team member solved a problem, the answer was shared because they wanted to save each other time and effort. We shared lots of food brought from home and ordered many meals for short dinner breaks.
While many hours were worked, no one exhibited any signs of resentment or indifference. Half the team was tackling issues they had never worked on before and they didn’t exhibit frustration because someone was there to ask and willingly help. Yes, we were all very tired at the end of that tough push, but the feelings of accomplishment in meeting that deadline were huge. Everyone was equally important in making it happen and we did it together.
So are you being a great collaborator? Are you sharing knowledge and helping to create a sense of camaraderie? It’s also important to make it a safe environment for others to ask questions. But, you have to be willing to take the time to help. You have to stop long enough to explain the why, or else, understanding will not take root. Having a safe environment fosters the willingness to step into the discomfort of doing something hard you’ve never done before and knowing you have help if you need it. And in the end, it makes for a team that is willing to dig in when the going is a little tough, give it their best, and get it done together.
About the Author
Penny Watson is one of the many passionate team members at HORNE who believe in the power of collaboration and have a heart for service. She serves as a tax manager on franchise team.