Collaboration in the workplace has always been acknowledged as a useful skill and critical to a team’s success. For years, Leaders have encouraged employees to step outside of their silos and work in a cross-unit or multi-disciplinary teams. And although the benefits of collaboration are significant and can fuel internal innovation, we need to be asking ourselves “what % of internal collaboration actually adds value?”
The assumption is that the more employees collaborate, the more the team will achieve and the better the company will be. But is adding another internal meeting to your week going to deliver results?
If you are working for a large organisation, you may have noticed that the number of internal meetings that you attend each week is rising steadily. Some executives report spending an average of 70% of their time on internal collaboration, that includes emails, phone calls, meetings etc. That leaves 30% of their time to drive output for the business.
The chances are that another meeting will add very little value, or as we call it Return on Collaboration. Return on Collaboration is a measurement of how different means of internal collaboration and teamwork impact business performance and innovation, as well as employee engagement and well-being. It looks at both the positive an negative outcomes for the individuals, the team and the business.
It is not just about time wasted on poorly organised internal meetings, but more fundamentally an issue of individual and collaborative performance. Poor collaboration could be costing you 1.9 days every week.
Collaboration has a price, whether it’s time, energy, focus or opportunity cost. As a Leader, we need to be asking “What kind of return does it generate for the individuals involved, as well as for the organisation or team?” That return can also be measured in terms of time, energy, ideas and opportunities. Missed opportunities cannot be ignored.
Although collaboration is a crucial component of how we work together in teams, the challenge is not to have more collaboration and ignore the opportunity costs. It is to have effective collaboration so that we can achieve more with our time and see greater results.