When Steve Jobs served on the board at Pixar, he saw a flaw in the way the departments of the company were simply coexisting that he felt was stifining the potential of Pixar as a whole. He felt there were too many barriers to communication and collaboration between the different departments. They only time they spoke was in formal and regulated ways and he knew that the best ideas and solutions never come arise in formal and regulated situations.
Per most of his legacy, he proposed a very simple design solution: a building that guaranteed the mixing of all departments and offices in little informal ways. Jobs knew that the more interaction between departments meant the more mixing of different ways of thinking, ideas, viewpoints, and knowledge would take place resulting in the best of Pixar. He was right: thousands of Pixar patents resulted and an era of effortless success followed.
You don’t need all team members to be in the same place to get this result. There are some tools and small tricks you can use to inspire collaboration and better communication.
Here are some tools and small tricks you can use to inspire collaboration and better communication.
Share calendars and goals:
Essentially, all employees and departments within an organization are working towards the same common goals. When employees are micromanaged and don’t see beyond their tasks or department goals, it doesn’t allow people to collectively solve problems and implement better ways of getting things done. They also are less motivated and engaged. Open to doors to collective problems solving and align departments towards one common direction by sharing calendars. When everyone can see the shared goals and actionable steps forward including their role, they are able to help improve the process forward for everyone. Use Google Calendars or a project calendar in your collaboration platform.
Brainstorm via company chat:
Brainstorming sessions don’t normally extend beyond a department or even a small team within a department. The problem with that is you often have similar minds working on the same problem. To the point of Steve Jobs, adding new perspectives to solve collective problems can have a huge impact on efficiency. Instead of trying to physically intermix departments which may be difficult, allow communication to flow between departments with technology like company chat. Take it one step further and regularly schedule brainstorm sessions with company chat. Chat actually helps eliminate some of the bias and limitations of brainstorming to get more creativity out of your whole team. You can use Hibox to organize company chat into streams for departments and projects. Hibox is an all-in-one digital workspace where team members can chat, create and manage tasks, share files, and video call all in one place. It improves communication and collaboration between departments and team members.
Have a central, public digital place where all team members can share news, suggestions, and ideas:
Right now, in many organizations, news and new ideas or suggestions have to travel through multiple layers of communication to get to a place where any real action can be taken. Often times, those who know the real problems and solutions of an organization can’t get the support or recognition to do so. Create a central digital place where employees from all different levels and departments can contribute to ideas, suggestions, and get news directly rather than relying on the “grapevine”. Learn more about the benefits of moving collaboration online. You can use a Hibox public stream to invite everyone to an organized conversation they can see the entire history of in one place.You can share files within your public stream and create tasks to make it actionable.
Make video calling a regular part of interactions between offices:
Text communication like email stiffens the ability to have regular back and forth discussion that leads to great ideas and solutions. Of course, that kind of interaction is not possible when there is physical distance between departments and offices. For many companies, departments only communicate outside of email at bi-annual conferences or call between managers. Video calling is a great way to bring together minds physically apart to take full advantage of your team’s ability. Group video calling is easy to implement with a tool like Hibox where you can invite literally hundreds of team members with a single link. You can share files, chat, and create tasks all in the same platform as well.
Eliminate communications “levels” and formality:
Though not new, Elon Musk has really pioneered “flattening” communication levels within corporations recently. In a now well-circulated email to his whole staff, Musk points out that in most corporations “people are forced to talk to their manager who talks to their manager who talks to the manager in the other dept who talks to someone on his team. Then the info has to flow back the other way again. This is incredibly dumb.” He encourages a flow of communication between whoever necessary to make fast, smart decisions and bans managers from creating internal “silos” of communication. You can speed up communication as well by encouraging and enabling employees to communicate as they need to. Simple things like providing a company directory with the contact info of all parties and using company chat can help make decisions and action happen much faster.
Bridging the gap between departments and offices can help you take full advantage of the different levels of experience and expertise you have on your various teams. Bringing together the right minds can create solutions and brilliant ideas. Create effortless collaboration for all team members across your organization with Hibox today.