Written by Andrew Petrie
What makes work fulfilling?
For me, and the candidates I represent as a recruiter, this means working in a collaborative environment where we feel connected to our colleagues.
This aligns with my favourite definition of a team – a group of people who work towards a common goal.
By this, I don’t mean everyone must work on the same thing at the same time. Every business has multiple parts, each immersed in their own responsibilities, projects and KPIs. In today’s hybrid world, many teams are also spread across different locations.
So, how do all the parts work together for the common goal of the business?
The answer lies in cohesion, collaboration and connection – otherwise known as the 3 Cs. The 3 Cs are part of a people-first recruitment model which helps companies build successful teams. I’ve seen this model effectively carried out by teams of local talent, offshore talent, and any combination of the two.
The 3 Cs: The time is now
Nothing can be achieved without the 3 Cs. To visualise the 3 Cs in action, think of a business as a rope that needs to pull a heavy object out of a lake. Everyone must pull the rope in the same direction at the same speed to be successful.
Rather than “tug-of-war”, this consistent action should be a “tug-of-assistance”. If some team members aren’t pulling their share, the team’s output is diminished. You want everyone’s hands on the rope, pulling in unison, so your team can successfully retrieve and secure the heavy object.
This ‘object’ could be any number of business goals. For example, finding effective solutions to challenges your customers have.
Technology makes it possible for teams to coalesce and transcend geographical boundaries. Thanks to messaging apps, video meetings, and project management software, people don’t need to be in the same location to pull their share of the rope.
Seize digital cohesion
The hybrid workplace is more productive than a single geographic location because people are glued together by wireless communication. This makes for faster, more efficient collaboration.
Do we use wireless communication to our best advantage though?
It’s possible to have too much of a good thing. For instance, a proliferation of communication platforms can fragment communication. How many times have you had to ask someone – what platform did you message me on?
Keeping track of multiple software platforms is conducive to cognitive overload, a killer of productivity. When we’re frantically searching through multiple channels and software for information, we’re pulled away from our core duties. This can cause our grip on the rope to slip.
To ensure everyone’s hands remain firmly on the rope, businesses need:
- a single source of truth for company announcements, communications, etc
- streamlined communications by limiting the number of stray channels and messaging services
- an agreed upon method for communication
These three things will help your hybrid team seize digital cohesion, an essential ingredient of success.
Master your sales skills for better collaboration
In the hybrid world, collaboration isn’t only enabled by having the right digital backbones. It’s also about being able to effectively communicate with others.
My experience as a sales professional for the past twenty years has taught me that most interactions involve a sales element. This is because most interactions involve an exchange of value, for example: information to solve a problem, or enrich someone’s knowledge. Master the sales element in your communication and everyone benefits.
Even if you aren’t a salesperson, there’s a lot you can learn from sales to further your communication.
By way of example, let’s look at recruitment. A great recruiter strikes a balance between the need to sell opportunities to candidates and candidates to hiring managers. Two different people. Two different challenges. The recruiter must have the best interests of both parties for the collaboration to be effective.
So, how does this work in practice?
Recruiters must be good at reading non-verbal communication. People convey more meaning through their body language, tone, and mannerisms than they ever will through their words. A great recruiter will look beyond the spoken word to ensure they understand what the best outcome is for the candidate and hiring manager.
In the above example – can you see how effective collaboration depends on the ability to understand the other’s needs? That’s the crux of sales in communication. Know what the other person needs and how you can offer a solution that best meets those needs.
So, while not everyone will be a salesperson by job title, sales principles can still act as a blueprint for effective collaboration.
Inspire connection: Virtual watercooler moments
I’ve observed that hybrid work has caused businesses to adopt a “brevity is virtue” approach. People want to cut to the chase and discuss only what they need for specific tasks and responsibilities.
Efficient communication aids productivity, but it can backfire if our messaging seems too abrupt. People could take offence to the apparent “shortness” of our messages, which may cause friction and impede camaraderie across teams.
I believe we need to find ways to simulate “water cooler” conversations every so often. I, for example, set aside time each week for one-to-one catch ups. This ensures I never forget to check in with anyone. Daily standups and the judicious use of video meetings also work to inspire connection.
Every business wants to be successful. To make this aspiration a reality for your business, your team needs to harness the 3 Cs.
With digital cohesion, better collaboration, and meaningful connection, everyone in your team will have “both hands on the rope” to achieve their goals and deliver value to your customers.