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Various studies have shown that project collaborations are capable of boosting employees’ performance. While scientists explain this fact in professional terms, it’s only fair to say that everyone can understand how common goals can inspire participants to perform better.

From our youngest days, we are encouraged to communicate and collaborate - from Boy Scouts to the university, the system is teaching us how to collectively perform better. The fact that the interest lies in empowering the system rather than the individual doesn’t change the fact that healthy communication between employees is preferable to the competitive atmosphere in traditional businesses seen so often.

That’s one of the reasons why agile approaches are gaining momentum, and while people’s differences are being taken into account in order to empower the successful business-happy employees axis. And why not? Why can’t both the employees and the businesses strive, hand in hand?

Changing the Perception

The time has come for the traditional business model to step down, or so it would seem by observing the overall climate. And while the executives are not too happy with the developments, they now face the choice of either adapting to the rapidly-evolving startup competition or being defeated by open-minded businesses doing things in innovative ways.

This, in itself, doesn’t have to imply that every business should switch to the agile principles (especially as old-school executives don’t know how to do that, not to mention that they’re not interested in sharing). It simply means that innovation should be employed in the best possible way as to benefit the employees and the business as a whole.

Purpose as Inspiration

The key to a productive collaboration is purpose, as shown by a joint study performed by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and Rob Cross, Edward A. Madden Professor of Global Business at Babson College.

Says Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer, i4cp:

“The lack of incentives and rewards is the most common and powerful barrier to effective collaboration. Yet, most talent management systems are designed to reward individual achievement, not team accomplishments. Finding ways to recognize and reward individuals, leaders, and teams who engage in productive collaborative behaviors can pay off in a big way.”

Thinking about it, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The point is in a productive collaboration, as opposed to just any collaboration. And the point is of crucial importance!

Namely, with the development of competitive environments, people simply tend to fend for themselves, ever reaching for a higher position, often disregarding their colleagues.

And while it is a well-established fact that employees will often look for better job opportunities if not given the chance to ascend to a better position, it also holds true that the ascension doesn’t necessarily have to be performed in a traditional way.

Let’s observe the agile environments mentioned above. To establish the right culture, even the executives need to change their approach. Nowadays it’s all about leadership as opposed to managing, which portends micro-management overseen by actual employees.

In such a system, everyone gets a say. More importantly, everyone gets to collaborate and present their ideas. Employees should be encouraged to do so, not only because it has been shown that employees who think they are getting the respect and credit they deserve tend to see company’s success as their own, but also because teams growing in such a creative environment are certain to keep brainstorming ideas in the future.

Innovation Is the Starting Point of Productive Collaboration

Like it or not, innovation is happening. Albeit it is not out of human nature to smirk at innovation, there is no denying the fact that businesses that defy the developments are bound to go down sooner or later.

That’s why so many large businesses are panicking, trying to learn from startups, often failing miserably. Changing one’s established views is difficult, mildly put, but it is absolutely necessary to get all employees to understand the necessity.

While people normally think in terms of office workers when the term “innovation” is mentioned, it is even more important to include ALL employees in this plan, starting with the executives.

Executives are actually the hardest nut to crack, as they don’t see why they should let go of their riches and allow the profit to be distributed more evenly. In short, they need to be coached to see the bigger picture: if innovation doesn’t happen, there will be no future profits. It’s that simple, really.

Lastly, the Omnipresent Feedback

We’re sure you’re sick and tired of being told how important feedback is, right? We cannot seem to escape that word no matter where we go. And while the iterations may be overbearing, the fact that feedback rules supreme when it comes to communication cannot be denied.

Similarly to how your business asks your customers and business partners for feedback, it should also allow for employees’ feedback. Presuming that the right environment has been set up, you will find the feedback to be rather productive.

Put in the simplest terms possible, when every employee is happy to be a part of their company, collaboration is bound to be productive. In turn, the ideas (and realizations) will keep popping out seemingly out of nowhere. Embrace the joint creativity of all the different individuals your business is lucky to employ! In that way, the company will grow as a collective achievement of all the people consistently striving to keep it the best place in the world to be employed.