by Rob Bellmar, Senior Vice President of Conferencing and Collaboration at InterCall

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Rob Bellmar

In part one (http://tinyurl.com/lsjqkc6) we took a look at how work is viewed differently by many members of the C-suite as compared to Millennials. We also touched on how these views can create barriers in business which place limits on success. Now let’s focus on how collaboration can help.

Collaboration strategies make it easy for organizations to scale up or down, or  put together specialized teams to win work they couldn’t do otherwise. A pharmaceutical company might hire additional researchers, or even an independent lab, to help meet critical product introduction deadlines. These complex, highly-regulated products require a great deal of specific work to bring them to fruition. An effective collaboration strategy can help keep inside and outside resources on the same page, ensuring work flows back and forth smoothly, which results in products being brought to market faster.

A commercial construction general contractor can select particular sub-contractors whose expertise helps him win a bid, then use a collaboration platform to work more effectively with them. Key players can meet from their offices or even different job sites to discuss the progress of each phase, solving (or avoiding) problems, making it easier to know when to order materials for the next phase and generally keeping the project on schedule.

How can an organization effectively encourage and nurture this type of barrier-breaking collaboration? One of the most important elements is providing the technology and tools that make it not just easy but effective. A conference call is generally easy to set up and execute yet its audio-only nature greatly limits  effectiveness. It’s as Confucius says: Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, let me do and I understand.

The right collaboration tools incorporate audio, video and web, providing the interactivity that engages participants in the discussion. That can take the form of different members of the group sharing their documents and/or presentations, providing hands-on demonstrations, and using other tools and techniques to involve everyone in the online meeting. These tools break down the barriers of time and distance, as well as job levels and loyalties, to make it easy to gather ideas and opinions from anyone who will add value to the conversation.

In today’s world it is critical that the tools you choose work equally well across any device the participant chooses to use. The growth of BYOD is a major contributor to the freedom employees have to work wherever, whenever and however they choose. According to a survey from Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group, 89 percent of IT departments make BYOD possible in some form. Your collaboration platform should be an enabler of that approach, not a barrier to it, giving participants the same rich experience no matter what type of screen – laptop/PC, tablet, smartphone – or operating system they choose to use.

Collaboration offers tremendous benefits to forward-thinking organizations, maximizing the potential of internal resources while tapping into an entire world of outside resources on an as-needed basis. The good news is a large segment of your up-and-comers are already inclined toward it.

To be a leader today, success starts with making “I’m going to work” a state of being rather than a physical destination. Empower staff by giving them the tools they need to break down whatever barriers stand in their way.  Then you will be prepared to take advantage of the collaboration economy.

The author can be reached at rcbellmar@intercall.com

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