The 6 Best Ways to Implement 'Extreme Collaboration'

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The way people communicate and work together greatly affects a business' success, and embracing a new operating model could innovate these behaviors for a breakthrough collaborative process.

Extreme collaboration (XC) allows people to come together and work toward a shared goal, according to new research by Gartner. The "extreme" part of this process includes people's willingness to cross geographic and organizational boundaries to pool their skills and solve problems to meet these goals.

Gartner identified six of the best practices for moving to a culture of XC:

  1. Use virtual collaboration in people's daily jobs. Rather than face-to-face meetings or email, use social networks and social media tools to easily host collaborative efforts in the workplace.
  2. Establish real-time communication habits at work. Using texts, tweets and Facebook allow people to respond more quickly to unexpected events and business disruptions. These habits may also help overcome some communication-related issues associated with organizational politics, such as delayed communication caused by management hierarchy.
  3. Use crowdsourcing and social media to create dynamic communities. Allow groups to brainstorm using a "tweet jam" rather than a meeting-room gathering; this way, all communication is recorded so people can review what they discussed. Crowdsourcing also brings people together to tackle shared problems, and it often helps unite those who did not previously know each other.
  4. Encourage collaboration by changing reward systems. Designing performance evaluations and incentives to foster teamwork and reward collaborators helps solve complex problems, and using collaborative technologies makes it easier to track collaborative behavior and tie it to the achieved goals.
  5. Measure collaborative behavior using social network analysis. Tracking how people interact can help identify strong social networks with foundations of trust and respect. After identifying these networks, organizations should leverage the established relationships by asking groups to pool their strengths and address challenges.
  6. Plan group events to kick-start collaboration. Use the following tips to get people out of their "comfort zones" and experiment with new ways of interacting: designate mobile-video attendees at meetings, use 'gamification' to spur engagement, and consider turning off email to make sure alternative forms of communication stay in place.
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