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Why do we collaborate with peers?

The question is rather simple and should be straightforward. But in many cases it isn’t. And why is that? Lack of objective? common language? lack of will? afraid of losing power? How to leverage the most value from your partnership by collaborating more effectively is a question I see unanswered and unsolved.

  • “Technology doesn’t allow you to have better meetings.  It allows you to have worse meetings more easily.” (IT executive)
In the past, a stable of team members were co-located in one site and could meet face-to-face daily. And when people are around each other social interaction happens and actions, issues, disagreements, decisions gets solved in the hallway, at lunch or at the coffee machine. Then, increasing globalization and networked communications enabled a more distributed organization model over the past two decades. 

Now, we are often virtual, mobile, distributed across the world and we have begun to bring our own devices to work. A lot of companies have over the last decade invested a significant amount of money in collaboration technology to enable employees to work remote.

I truly believe that a company can invest in the most high end technology and save travel costs. But at the end of the day the company has lost even more money than they saved on travel costs because they have become more inefficient. Employees and managers are still struggling with how to apply efficient teamwork. Adding multiple dimensions such as different cultures and time zones to the equation and then top it with technology, it makes it much more difficult to gain high performing teams.

Companies have invested to educate employees to use technology and tell what benefits it gave by working remote. The interesting part of this education is there is rarely any education in how to work together using the technology provided in the company. As an employee you need to figure that out for yourself.

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