As a business tool, collaboration is a powerful means towards improving organizational performance and increasing productivity. While many business leaders depend on the numbers to measure business success, collaboration assessment takes on a different plane.
Charts and graphs are useful methods of documenting collaborative activities. Beyond the statistics, how can collaboration success be measured in relation to the benefits of collaborative efforts? How do managers know how much knowledge has been shared or how much agility has increased?
The Seeming Difficulty in Measuring Collaboration Success
While page views, likes, tweets and other traffic indicators can be quantified, there are other factors in the whole business cycle that contribute to collaboration success. One may even be tempted to ask whether there is an ROI behind collaboration. Collaboration advocates intuitively believe that there is, but corporate executives aren’t satisfied with mere intuition. They want something tangible and, if possible, measurable.
The collaboration initiative goes through a complete process. During the process, certain changes in work processes may take place, making it difficult for managers to measure success in a tangible way. Other reasons for such difficulty are the significant time it takes to complete the collaboration process and the lack of any previous benchmark with which to compare.
A Guide to Measuring Collaboration Success
The following collaboration elements can serve as a guide for company executives to evaluate collaboration success in their organizations:
• One goal – Collaboration is more than just a set of meetings, sessions and other group activities. The collaborative effort needs to have a distinctly defined goal with a sense of shared vision that is clearly understood by all the team members.
• Collective tasks – No matter how many people, teams or departments are involved, team leaders must ensure the aligning of tasks and avoid assigning overlapping responsibilities. While the tasks may be individually performed, they must be performed in one collective effort toward a shared goal.
• Focused direction – This can be achieved by having periodic and special meetings to monitor progress and ensure that the project is on track.
• Consensus – When disagreements arise, encourage the participation of everybody in discussions and decision making.
Collaboration aims to make people work together in an organization to do shared tasks in order to reach an identical objective. Purposeful communication, assigning the right people to the right tasks, and inventing new approaches all contribute to collaboration success.