Collaboration—It’s Not Just a Buzzword

All in an effort to increase collaboration within and between teams, companies are creating open work spaces, starting internal social networks, and organizing off-site team-building exercises. Collaboration falls on a wide spectrum, so let’s not focus on the different types that are required to do your day-to-day work. Instead, let’s talk about knowledge sharing and idea diversification.

These types of collaboration between teams lead to innovative new concepts and build on past experiences, rather than siloed teams trying to reinvent the wheel. Through sharing your knowledge and ideas, you can work more efficiently, because you have a good starting point and know the mistakes to avoid.

let’s talk about knowledge sharing and idea diversification

In our fast-paced digital marketing world, the analytics team is often utilized only during the last step of campaign execution in order to report its impact. But this can often lead to irreparable mistakes that could’ve been caught if the analytics team had been included from the get-go.

For example, this commonly happens when running an A/B test. Time constraints or budget limitations are often factors that determine the length of a test, but these points are moot if you don’t have an adequate sample size to detect differences between the test groups. By including your analytics team from the start, you can know the required runtime before scheduling your tests. In addition, they can calculate the statistical power of your test (the probability of detecting a difference, if one exists) so that you won’t waste your time and resources running inconclusive tests.

My favorite collaborative experiences occur organically. For example, having lunch with other teams where you end up discussing your work and the roadblocks you are experiencing, or chatting with a coworker in the elevator to get input from someone who doesn’t think the same way you do. Collaboration doesn’t have to look like a traditional brainstorm to help you see your issue in a new light.

I was recently having breakfast with a coworker and he was recalling how he’d spent the night before tediously working on a spreadsheet to create all the combinations of ad sizes and copy for his new campaign. As he was describing the repetitiveness of this task, not to mention the hours he was spending, I kept thinking to myself, I should be able to automate this in a pretty simple SQL query. I asked him for access to his spreadsheet, and came back two days later to show him what I’d done. He was so happy and shocked that I had to pick his chin up off the floor. After making additional improvements based on his feedback, he started training his team on how to use this new automation process. Originally taking 6–10 hours to create one of these spreadsheets, this new process cut down the time to just 15 minutes, while also decreasing the chance of human error.

Collaboration doesn’t have to look like a traditional brainstorm to help you see your issue in a new light.

Collaboration becomes infectious when every individual in your company practices what the company leadership is preaching. It isn’t a one time thing—it’s something that needs to be constantly nurtured and developed. This habit can fall by the wayside when you’re focused on the daily grind and just trying to get things done as soon as possible. I encourage you to take a step back once a week, possibly during your one-on-one meeting with your manager, to think about how experiences from your work can benefit one of your peers. Or flip that on its head: Before doing something the “quick and dirty” way to get it off your to-do list, think about whether one of your coworkers has previously tackled a similar issue and enlist their help in creating a sustainable and more efficient process.

Get into the habit of including everyone that will be part of a project from the outset, regardless of where they fall in the project timeline, and then share what you’ve learned with your broader team at the conclusion of that project. The more collaboration there is within your team or company, the more efficient your work will become. Work smarter, not harder. Now let’s all put that saying into action.