Organizations use teams to create wealth, market share, customer service, competitive advantage, and organizational success. Effective teams accomplish their assigned end goals by engaging in collaboration as a joint learning activity. Enhanced effectiveness is why collaborative tools are so critical to the project manager, and 7 out of 10 IT professionals see collaboration as essential to their organization.
For an information worker operating within a modern team environment, finding information is relatively easy. Any team member can “google” to find just about anything. High-performance teams, however, know how to work together to brainstorm and collaborate on discovering the right questions. That concept frames the future of collaboration and the project manager’s role. The most effective project managers use artificial intelligence (AI) to apply computational approaches to the collaborative social experience. In laymen’s terms that means using AI to discover the right questions. Research has shown this approach as a more robust method of helping humans solve increasingly complex business problems.
As AI and collaboration technologies enhance and spread intelligence equally to any worker, machine learning technologies provide just-in-time custom learning based on team needs and the organizational goals. Collaboration technology should, therefore, also help ease the challenge of connecting physically remote teams to each other. This critical function allows more interaction, more collective learning, more collaboration, and more team success. By embracing this new remote collaboration paradigm, project managers can:
- Identify and engage critical talent independent of their location. This capability improves the manager’s ability to bring complementary skills into a collaborative environment with the broader team;
- Encourage and build healthy relationships with remote team members. Strong relationships are the heart of effective collaboration and leadership;
- Present and communicate a guiding vision to the team. Providing clarity of purpose enhances collaboration;
- Work with local and remote team members to jointly prepare a clear mission objective and define group rules of engagement;
- Connect the project with higher level organizational objectives;
- Create an atmosphere of safety, trust, and respect that, in turn, encourages multiple perspectives, diverse viewpoints, and creativity;
- Make everyone’s ideas and suggestions visible and tangible by building prototypes, or drawing diagrams;
- Provide an easy-to-use infrastructure that enables learning, communication, and collaboration;
- Remove barriers to high performance by nurturing individual brilliance;
- Coach for improved teamwork, emotional intelligence, and navigating difficult conversations;
- Jointly celebrate joint accomplishments; and
- Capture best practices and things that should be avoided.
(List derived from “12 Ways to Enhance Creativity and Collaboration in Teams.”)
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