More on Gartner's Five Collaboration Myths- 5

Blog Post created by jgaudin on Aug 1, 2011

Much thanks to Jeff Prillaman for pulling together his list of Enterprise 2.0 conference: Boston Notes, Quotes, Tweets 2 keep  I think it's an excellent list and definitely provides some food for thought.  The first link was very interesting to me and as Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths I felt each myth warranted more discussion.  Let's look at the fifth:


5. People instinctively know how to collaborate

Without a set of expectations about what it means to work collaboratively with others, individuals will be forced into using their own interpretation of collaboration. Few organizations have a clear set of guidelines that describe how people should interact with each other to produce optimum results. A better approach is to clarify what attitude a collaborative individual needs to bring to their work, what abilities and skills they need to master and what personal style works well in a team setting. It is also critical that managers demonstrate the behaviors they want their employees to mirror.*


How people collaborate will vary greatly by the person, the devices/applications they use and the defined processes throughout the business unit and enterprise.  In order for people to interact in ways that will produce optimum results, they must know what results they're trying to achieve.  These desired results should be well-defined at both macro and micro levels in such a way to bring people together within and across domains.  If properly planned, each micro result will map into a larger macro goal.  This allows people to focus on the immediate goal(s) at hand while still having visibility into the larger picture and company direction.


How people literally collaborate can present quite a daunting challenge.  The way collaboration occurred in the past was limited: you met in person, you spoke on the phone, or you would distribute a letter/memo.  Now there are many additional ways to collaborate with; enterprise applications: e-mail, blog, wiki, instant messaging, conferencing, telepresence, voice mail; public access applications: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, e-mail; mobile applications: SMS, MMS, voice mail, conferencing.  While I tried to group these different collaborative applications there are two interesting facts that become apparent.  The end devices and applications that are used for collaboration have significantly increased providing more choice and with choice comes complexity and a lack of integration.  Second, a blurring of the lines between personal and professional end-points and applications presents new collaborative opportunities, but with it additional risks to compliancy and information protection.


Do your employees know how to collaborate in ways that overcome the barriers to effective collaboration and align their efforts with desired business goals?  With all the choices available are they able to use the best tools to properly collaborate?  What are the challenges you're experiencing and how have you planned on addressing them?

Click below to view the earlier posts in this series:

Myth 1- The Right Tools Will Make Us Collaborative

Myth 2- Collaboration is inherently a good thing

Myth 3- Collaborating takes extra time

Myth 4- People naturally will/will not collaborate


*Gartner Identifies Five Collaboration Myths