We are fully entrenched in an age of collaboration. There’s nowhere to run and nowhere to hide when it comes to being connected to those around us. I spent a lot of years helping companies implement collaboration tools that augment and supplement their ERP system. And now there are TONS of tools available in the market to help businesses of all size collaborate, break down departmental walls, and collaborate with folks both internally and externally. But are we on the edge of too much collaboration?
Think back to when email first really became a thing in business life. It was amazing!
This technology gave you the ability to communicate in written form and have it arrive almost immediately. But fast forward 20 some years and at times email can now be a burden. In the past I’ve approached having almost 1000 unread emails and don’t even get me started on my personal email. It’s something I’ve strived to get better at and now keep my work email clean. The point being that this is a common thing, and many of us find ourselves buried in email to the point that it can become a burden and counterproductive.
The same issue is starting to arise with collaboration platforms. You might have one, maybe two or even three platforms that are being utilized for collaboration purposes. While the intent is noble, what often happens is that now instead of collaborating with teammates, you are simply trying to wade through notifications and updates. Or update tasks that are complete because it needs marked as done. Sure, you probably should have been keeping them updated all along, but when you are collaborating in so many places that becomes a task in and of itself.
Are collaboration tools bad?
Absolutely not! But just like any other tool, if they aren’t utilized properly you can end up creating more problems and headaches when rather than solving problems.
How can you avoid getting overwhelmed by collaboration?
Decide on a single platform for the organization.
Route all important communications and processes through this tool. Don’t use it for some announcements and updates but then use email or other means for other updates.
Use the platform for all your critical business processes
Map out the critical path of new processes BEFORE using a tool to manage them
By taking some time to really define what you want to accomplish with your collaboration tools you can full realize their benefit.