Monday, July 31, 2006

What is business doing to foster collaboration

I was out at a couple of organizations at the end of last week. A common conversation began to spark a question inside of me.

What are we doing to create better collaborators?

There are some great tools out on the market right now that help to develop a good collaborative environment. We are in business state currently that gives the collaboration market the best chance ever. Again though, what are we doing to create better collaborators?

I have seen this trend with e-Mail and other communications components also. We as a corporate industry place technologies in and expect people to use them correctly. I am not talking about finding out where a function is in the right mouse click menu or knowing how to connect to the server when traveling. I am talking about real use. How should someone communicate with e-Mail or IM? How should someone build a team with a collaboration solution? How should someone manage an asset in a content management system?

The last one is interesting because external pressures such as compliance are beginning to spell this out for companies. The sad thing is that for the most part that is the only thing helping the users within the corporation.

I would argue things such as e-Mail have made us worse communicators than before. The terseness of the messages, the ambiguity of the decisions/topics, the needless chit chat, etc... are all examples of how we have de-evolved since having to pick up a phone or have a face to face conversation. Communicating electronically is different and the expectation that someone who can communicate in real life well will be able to communicate electronically well is misguided. Body language, oral pitch, and other physical aspects are all things that go into whether we are good real life communicators. It is a different ball of wax for electronic communication :-) (or should it be =P).

The same is true for collaboration. Just because someone can work on a team in real life does not mean that they can do that electronically. Who teaches users to take advantage of the electronic upsides such as real time status, contextual settings, digital roles, etc... If you have a story of a customer that is doing it right I would love to hear about it ( or post a comment. I am sure it is going on but where I could not tell you.


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