Last week we discussed how infusing your culture and processes with accountability at every step can transform an organization. This week, we dive into collaboration and the impact it can have on a team.
“Collaboration” -it has become somewhat of a buzzword when we talk about organizational processes and company culture. It’s to the point where the Harvard Business Review is writing about Collaboration Overload. “Two heads are better than one”, is the theory and we’re all about it. We write about it, we talk about it, we have the benefits down pact…but do we really understand what it means or looks like? Do we understand how to implement it in a way that makes an impact? We have to pose these questions because right now, it really doesn’t seem like it. It looks more like what we like to call “email hell”.
Can you define how your team collaborates and identify the tools that make this collaboration possible? Most leaders we speak to say, “email”. By the way, a Volano team member dies a little inside every time a leader identifies their collaboration tool as email, and a lot of us have kids.
Don’t get us wrong, email is 100% necessary and it’s a powerful communication tool, but that does not make it an effective collaboration tool. In fact, email can be one of the biggest hindrances to collaboration there is. In many ways, email is an albatross. Long email threads, vague directives, poor search ability…and it’s getting worse. 140 character conversations, emojis and why does that person keep putting a “J” at the end of everything?!
When you have time, we suggest you read, “The 4 Emails Everyone Loathes and What They Do to Productivity.”
Email isn’t collaboration. It is for one-to-one communication. Email is a note to your grandma. And is there any context in email? Typically, not. Gallup says that 70% of US employees don’t feel engaged in great part due to communication barriers. But it can be better. Real collaboration is changing the world of work.
When collaboration is done right, it is about sharing with context, including the whole group, not just one-to-one. Collaboration is when everyone is working around the same table, but in a virtual sense. It is sharing, it is feedback, it is mobile. It is not email.
Not too long ago we had the privilege of working with a wireless retailer via our field visit app, Action Card. In short, Action Card’s mobile and web-based solution eliminates time-consuming paper reviews adding efficiencies to field visits. When it came to collaboration between their field team and just about anyone else in the organization, the struggle was real.
The field visit team was communicating with their operations officer to report on quality for 20 different locations via email, then the operations officer was also using to email to manage the whole follow up process. It’s hard to wrap your head around just how painful this process was. Group emails would be crafted with instructions, then there would be a wait time for various teams and individuals to respond, confirm reconciliation of action items, or simply ask questions. Think about how that would work -reconciling who’s responded and who hasn’t, following up, following up on the follow up, and so on.
As you can image, there were so many pain points in this process, very little was accomplished without several rounds of email threads and likely more time inbox searching than performing actual job reqs. It wasn’t working, especially not on this scale. To compound the issue, corporate was demanding that independent wireless dealerships expand, or get bought. Obviously their ability to successfully scale further was an issue.
That’s where the Action Card app came in. We brought in our collaboration software and they are now able to communicate richly up and down and across the organization. No more time consuming email threads, no more follow up on the follow up, no more lag time. Now, action items collected from the field visit are brought to light in real time with automated work queues that make it impossible for issues to fall between the cracks. Reviews become actionable, bringing location staff into the process. This establishes a more transparent, accountable review process and better results through education. When an action item is flagged, it doesn’t get lost in email chains or loose leaf papers. Following through on Action Items is made easy and following up is even easier. Collaboration is a beautiful thing.
Stay tuned next week when we wrap up the Power to ACT series with Transparency.
June 2, 2020
According to LinkedIn technology (software) has a higher overall turnover rate than retail. With that, it isn’t a matter of if, but a matter of when. Volano has engineered a culture of “by developers, for developers” and this helps our retention. In fact, most of the folks that work at Volano have been here +5 […]
June 2, 2020
It is hard enough to build a successful business, and few want to invest time and resources into worrying about an Intellectual Property Assignment. But alas, you must do your homework. Fortunately, we make it easy for Volano customers. When asked – “Who owns the software and IP for my project?” – it is an […]
May 28, 2020
Many of us remember the grade school game Telephone. It was funny to see how a simple message would get garbled as it was passed along from person to person. But it’s not as funny when that message is a critical business requirement that will be turned into software that will power your business. Yet, […]
May 28, 2020
Volano’s first interaction with a potential client is about answering questions and evaluating alignment. The big question is obvious – “what’s this gonna cost?” Well, good news/bad news – Good news – we’ve built hundreds of software systems so we can give you a ‘round’ budgetary estimate in our first meeting. Bad news – we […]
January 3, 2019
Are you really ready for Digital Transformation? Many corporations see this simply as going paperless, but it is much more than that. It is also more than looking only at technology for solutions. Digital transformation is transformation of business and its organizational activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of […]
November 21, 2018
Mobile Apps for your field-based teams can improve productivity and enhance efficiencies in your business operations. Here are a few mobile app benefits: Location Tracking You need to track the location of your field-based teams. Using the location tracking features of a smartphone or other device in your mobile app has a few different benefits. […]