How to Collaborate
Collaborate means to join forces and work together.
Much of what businesses do today involves collaborating with other people and companies. This collaboration often involves people and companies that are not physically near each other.
It is only fitting that a Business School trains students to collaborate with each other. Often, the collaborators will not have the option of deciding who they must collaborate with. The work team may be by company design or the circumstances of who is involved in a project. Many different circumstances will determine who must work with whom.
Often this throws people of different work methods, backgrounds, and even circadian rhythms together and thereby can be the root of many collaborative project difficulties. Hopefully, the employee will not have any strong dislikes of fellow workers. (See Myers-Briggs link for more information)
Manners and etiquette are very important in a work setting for many reasons but the ever-growing collaboration work style is making polite and professional behavior even more important.
Another factor that will help in the work world of collaboration is the understanding of personality types such as those discussed in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type. Knowing the work styles and behaviors of yourself and your fellow collaborators will aid in everything from deciding who you might work best with to assigning tasks once the collaboration group is formed. (See Myers-Briggs article linked below)
Let's say your group is assigned to review a particular company and a business concept or methodology of said company. The project is to take 6 weeks. At the end of the project the collaboration group will need to give a Power Point talk covering the salient points for the purpose of educating the rest of their department on both the company researched and the successful or not successful business methods.
There is also to be a paper submitted to the ownership of the company that demonstrates the points of the talk and clearly lays out the project. The ownership will use this information to make a final decision on whether the business concept was well researched and therefore a method needed to be implemented in the company.
The group is to be made up of four people. On what basis do you select the strongest most successful group?
All of the group should be good at research whether it is Internet research, book research or on-site research. So, there are several types of research that must be performed. All members should perform each type of research. Not everyone will be equal in their methods of research. However, each will have important input based on the research they performed. Everyone should bring written notes to the meetings regarding both their understanding of the concept and their research. Perhaps, it makes great sense to visit the most comparable competition also.
At least one person should be adept and comfortable in creating a Power Point presentation. Perhaps the group will need to place two people in tandem on the Power Point. One may do graphics and one may compile facts and the flow of the Power Point. Remember, the Power Point must illustrate the findings in an orderly manner, and be easy to read and follow.
One person should be in charge of pulling the written paper together and providing the final editing. Perhaps more than one person is known to be a good writer. The paper can be worked on by more than one person. Do make sure that one of the writers is excellent at editing for spelling, punctuation, and syntax.
One person needs to be more than comfortable speaking in public; they need to be good at speaking in public. Every person needs to do some speaking in a presentation depending on their assigned tasks during the project. However, there should be one person who emcees the whole proceeding in order to keep the talk moving forward and in the allotted time allowed.
Hopefully, somewhere in your education or career you have taken a Public Speaking Course. The ability to speak on a subject in public is a very valuable skill.
A group needs to decide when and where they are meeting. Be sure to work with people that can attend the agreed upon meeting times. Do you have similar schedules? Can you meet at the same time and locations? If someone does not attend the meetings, they are not doing the work and do not deserve credit. Take attendance by having each person sign in at the meetings. Turn in the attendance with your papers if there was a problem.
In the work world the person would be removed from the group by simple default of not performing.
Finding Your Group Members
So, how do you find these people? Ask “Who is good at researching, Power Points, writing and speaking?” The work area to include the classroom is an excellent place to practice these skills and learn to collaborate. Often, in the business world, you do not have the leisure to learn-on-the-job. It is a great benefit to learn how to find a group and how to work in a group.
Last and very certainly not least, is rehearsal. A group needs to rehearse. Practice will make the talk flow better and be within the time parameters given. It will also make the Power Point flow work well with the presentation. It would be wasteful to put all this work in a presentation and then have it go badly due to not practicing. Think of this rehearsal just like a musical group does. They rehearse for weeks until their concert. The group needs one if not two final rehearsals.
Collaboration is the current accepted business method. Keeping up with the business world by learning to collaborate will be very helpful in your chosen career.
Myers-Briggs Personality Type
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