Stop wasting my time: collaboration or efficiency?

Graham Andrewartha| Director| MCA group

Today, the ability to effectively collaborate and increase efficiency are both essential to success. But how do you balance collaboration with efficiency? What if one is taking priority over the other? I will explore the tension between collaboration and efficiency, and discuss how companies can ensure that neither is being wasted. I will examine the benefits and drawbacks of each approach, and discuss strategies for making sure that time spent on both is maximized.

A recent research article in Forbes Magazine examined the age-old question: collaboration or efficiency? They found managers who were enabled to act collaboratively stuck at their task 64% longer than their solitary peers, whilst also reporting higher engagement levels, lower fatigue levels and a higher success rate. While both are important in the workplace they don’t always go hand in hand. In fact, sometimes collaboration can actually hinder efficiency. Brandeis explained that when too many people are involved in a project, things can get bogged down by endless meetings and discussions. This can lead to delays and missed deadlines. On the other hand, when one person is solely responsible for a project, they may be able to complete it quickly but may not have taken all perspectives into account.

The solution in finding the right balance between collaboration and efficiency means having clear roles and responsibilities for each team member while also encouraging open communication and feedback. By doing so, teams can work together effectively without sacrificing productivity.

What is collaboration?

Collaboration is like a puzzle – even if it takes longer than working alone, the end result will be more complete and satisfying.

Collaboration means working with other individuals on a project, task, or idea. The goal of collaboration is to pool ideas and skillsets and achieve results that benefit the group. Communication, interpersonal skills, information sharing, and strategy are all necessary for successful workplace collaboration in offices and remote workplaces. Collaboration also helps build stronger connections amongst coworkers.

Three barriers to effective collaboration

Graham Kenny in a recent HBR article,  Leaders Need to Get Comfortable Collaborating on Strategy, identified these blockers:

  • A narrow view of the strategy process. Participation is not the same as decision-making.
  • Fear of losing face.  The fear of loss of face outweighs the benefits of accessing potential solutions.
  • Fear of process overload. Believing this means overwork and loss of efficiency.

Strategies to Balance Collaboration and Productivity

1. Tailor collaboration to your corporate culture.

2. Set expectations – and communicate them clearly.

3. Encourage participation and respectful conflict resolution.

4. Don’t overburden top performers.

5. Plan for collaborative success.

Collaboration hinges upon excellent communication skills like these discussed elsewhere.

collaboration     To become better at collaboration, please contact us by phone on 1300 856 480 or by email