Presently, the world is fully connected, and information flows peer to peer at light speed. The pandemic expedited the adoption of online collaboration tools, making it easier than ever for scaling organizations to work together on different projects with multiple people from many locations. There is little doubt that collaboration is key to the success of organizations in the marketplace.
Apple’s Success Story
An excellent example of the benefits of collaboration involves the launch of Apple’s iPod challenging the Sony Walkman. Sony had invented a small portable music player and had dominated the market since the Walkman’s introduction in 1979. By the time Apple introduced its iPod in 2003, Sony owned the Walkman and VAIO personal computer divisions, Sony Music and Sony Electronics. Most importantly, they held a vast music database. However, what Sony didn’t have was the collaborative culture that Apple had succeeded in building.
Sony divisions worked in siloes, which hindered their research, marketing, and go-to-market strategies. At the time, they believed that decentralization would make them more agile but what they didn’t realize is that it came at the expense of communication and collaboration. According to Jeff Robins from the iTunes division, “It was just an incredible team project. There were no boundaries. The software guys, the hardware guys, the firmware guys, everybody worked together.” Apple’s marketing triumph illustrates the benefits of collaboration when well executed.
The Key to Effective Collaboration
If you are leading an organization where remote teams are the norm (or the new norm), you will have more diversity in communication styles and perspectives versus working in an office. This requires people to respect and more readily adapt to each other’s styles. Identifying interpersonal efficiencies and styles is essential in understanding how to collaborate effectively. Discovering each others’ communication styles and preferences and adapting to communicate effectively is possible, however, it requires that you know yourself quite well.
Remote Teams Need New Tools
Using DISC assessments, which measure behavioral and communication preferences based on the theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, remote teams can create a common language for communication and behavioral preferences among staff. Furthermore, DISC helps to support team members to:
- Better understand themselves and others
- Open up and share candidly
- Communicate effectively
- Increase awareness and new perspectives
- Connect in a valuable and meaningful way
- Adapt to work more productively with one another
Successful team collaboration is an ongoing process, with real and measurable results. It’s not a set of tactics or strategies you put into place once and forget. It’s an intentional, dynamic process that needs a long-term orchestrated effort. The DISC tool is a great baseline to start the process and help your remote team along the journey.