It is so important for our teams to have a collaborative environment where they can bring their best to the table, create value, help each other, and play to their strengths. There are a lot of times when we have to create this collaborative environment. Especially when you’re working with a brand-new team from some other function within the company or working with new customers.
Collaboration Can Help Team Members Play to Each Other’s Strengths
There’s a lot of M&A going on in the corporate world. Companies buying other companies with total cash, cashless stock, or leveraged buyouts. Now it becomes challenging in these scenarios for all of these teams to work together, especially when there are new teams involved. The reason for that is because these new teams may not know each other, and they may not know each other’s work styles.
A stranger is a friend that you just don’t know yet. You owe it to your team and yourself to create a collaborative environment with this new team. A collaborative environment will help you to play to each other’s strengths, creating more value and help your organization drive better business results.
Here’s a quick framework that will help you establish a collaborative environment. It is called T.E.L.L.S.
Transparency: The first one is about transparency. You have to be transparent; no passive-aggressive behavior. Put everything on the table and make sure we cover each other’s blind spots and take care of each other.
Empathy: The next one is making sure we exercise empathy, to understand others’ perspectives. We walk a little bit in other people’s shoes to understand how they’re feeling, what they’re going through, and where they’re coming from. This is very important to establish that connection that allows you to understand each other better.
Listening: Listening is not just the process of hearing what the other person has to say verbatim, but also seeking to understand. One hack that can be used is to listen with the assumption that everything that you know is wrong. This makes you more alert and your ears perk up. You capture everything the other person is saying and you become more knowledgeable.
Learn: The new team you’re going to be working with has its own character; they have a lot of strengths, and they bring a lot to the table. You owe it to yourself to make sure you not only understand what they’re sharing but also learn from it.
Sharing: Once you’ve learned this, make sure you share. You share the knowledge, the resources, and the tools from your team that will help this new team do a better job. Share as if you’re giving a gift, not just for the sake of it. Share because it creates a virtuous cycle of collaboration.
You help the other teams, and other teams help, creating a virtual cycle. With this framework, you can not only create a collaborative environment for your team, but you can also establish it as a best practice for the rest of the organization.