How many of you have initiated contact with someone you haven’t met (in person) as you struggled to answer a challenging internal query? During this period of lockdown and working from home, I have found myself reaching for my contact lists, both internal and external, more often than in previous months. Sitting alone in one’s home office, bereft of professional human contact (pets, children and the postie doesn’t count), I find it is much easier to pick up my mobile phone, submit a Teams meeting request, or send an email in order to collaborate.

All of us, regardless of professional status, require help or assistance from time to time. One shouldn’t shy away from reaching out to a friend, colleague, acquaintance when in need of an authoritative opinion or advice of a specialist expert.

Internal Collaboration

Sometimes it is difficult to acknowledge expertise in areas with which we are unfamiliar. There are those that know a little about a lot of things and others who know a lot about a niche subject matter. Organisations do try to fill roles with individuals on both sides of the spectrum. Difficult as it may seem to acknowledge, no one knows everything! Your fellow team members are just that – part of your team.

External Collaboration

Utilising a closed collaborative system expects an organisation to develop and grow competitively in the long term; whilst commercialising new products and services within a protected boundary. Copyrighted collateral, intellectual property and innovative ideas are thus protected. This approach may work for some. Openness to utilising external resources and ideas throughout a functional process development, such as an MDR gap analysis review, allows a team to explore and possibly build new capabilities.

External collaboration might be as simple as colleagues exchanging ideas over a coffee (with social distancing of course) or as formal as zoom meeting with a prescribed agenda.

Collaboration barriers

  • No incentives or motivation
  • Status gap
  • Limited resources (time, funds, people)
  • Cultural differences
  • Competition

The Covid-19 lockdown, with its seemingly draconian policies and regulations, has provided a stark example of how it really is better if we work together.

There are concepts, facts or ideas I may know, that you may not be aware. I could possibly support resolution of one of your challenging activities. Please reach out, even if just to chat. No obligation.

K Young