A collaborative work environment can be very productive and yield exceptional results. Everyone has a different perspective on what is best and are eager to share. Because of this, a common trend has become to have leadership include everyone in the planning process. After all, everyone has an opinion and their contributions may be beneficial. It is smart for company leadership to use their employees as a resource for ideas and input. Collaboration can lead to great end-results. But when does too much of a good thing, turn into a bad thing?
The reality of opening up a task for all to comment on often leads to long wait times between approvals, disjointed messaging, and circular conversations over every minute detail. In the end, this adds up to a lot of wasted time and resources.
So how do you go about being inclusive while also being selective?
- A meeting of the minds. In the beginning of the planning and brain-storming phase, it is most beneficial to have a facilitated meeting where everyone involved has a platform to voice their ideas, concerns, and questions about the process. It is very difficult to stay on track with many voices in the room, so an outside facilitator to help guide the meeting would be most productive. This meeting should result in a general consensus on what the problems are and the goals to fix them.
- Start small. Once development is ready to start, it is important to decide right away who will be involved and who will be making final decisions. A very specific group of people should be assigned to help implement this plan, otherwise the ideas will not stop coming and nothing will ever get accomplished. The smaller the group of decision-makers, the faster things can be decided.
- Be on the same page. Once a small taskforce has been formed, it is imperative to have a meeting to finalize ideas, determine the approval process, and be absolute on the end-goal. This step is often skipped and it is detrimental to the process because as you go along, it will become apparent that not everyone has had the same end-goal in mind as you assumed.
- Stop wasting precious time. It is a good idea to have one person be the final decision-maker in the taskforce. If everyone is constantly debating small details such as changing “good” to “great”, the final decision-maker can easily decide and everyone can move on and use their time more wisely. After all, wasted time equals wasted money.
- Remember the end-goal. If the original product has lost all meaning and you can’t even remember the point, this often means the taskforce has lost sight of the end-goal (or if Step 3 was skipped, they may have never understood the end-goal) and they have spent too much time nitpicking little details to the point that the product does not even look the same.
Collaboration is key in having a successful end-product that everyone is happy with, but being selective in that process is just as vital.