I’m currently working with colleagues at the Leading Edge Forum to pull together some of the work that I’ve done with them on the concept of collaboration. Checklists of questions are often a useful tool, so here are 10 questions you can ask when thinking about improving collaboration in your organisation…

1. How well does your organisation collaborate in diverse teams?

Diversity here might mean inter-silo, inter-organisation or on lines of gender, ethnicity, sexuality or other points of difference.

2. How are you treating the digitization of collaboration in comparison to the digitization of your products and services?

For service-based organisations, collaborative working often is your service.

3. Do you even find the time to work out how to collaborate better?

Many people in many organisations find themselves stuck in firefighting traps, too busy to look at improving how they operate.

4. How are you using new tools like AI, ML and natural language processing to help collaboration?

Some of this might be happening through the osmosis of collaboration product development, but are you strategically thinking about how emerging technologies might help people work with one another better?

5. How do you scale collaboration?

Interactions between people don’t scale well without making them transactions. Transactions and interactions aren’t the same thing: think the difference between visiting Tiffany’s to buy a wedding ring and buying something from Amazon.

6. How do you collaborate outside of the organisation? Is it all still email?

Whilst modern cloud platforms are being adopted at a pace now within organisations, is the need for interaction with people outside of your firewall leading to email being the lowest common denominator for those interactions?

7. What is the role of collaboration technology in reducing costs through remote working and office design and workspace?

Is cost saving your only aim?

8. Are you changing collaborative behaviours in the context of culture e.g. the need to role model behaviours?

People often talk about culture change when really they mean behavioural change. Are you trying to get people to work in ways that are just too far from the culture of your organisation? Are there barriers in the way?

9. What are the top team (executive) behaviours being exposed by new collaborative behaviours e.g. when collaboration is delegated?

Do you have squads of executive assistants using technology on behalf of your senior leaders? What messages does that send to the rest of the organisation?

10. How do you assess IT services for the effectiveness of the collaboration infrastructure?

What role should the IT department be playing now in successful collaborative technology adoption? Now that cloud delivery in commonplace does their role need to change?

Feedback on the questions hugely welcomed!

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