Become an IT Business Superhero Series – How Team Collaboration Software Tools Can Give You Telepathic Powers

Telepathy

Telepathy allows you to uncover what’s hidden in the minds of your people and reveal their ideas and thoughts. With this capability, the IT business superhero can know what his team is thinking and feeling. Telepathy also enhances your empathic powers. With this insight, your business can unleash the power of ideation and innovation.

This article on the power of telepathy is the third in a four-part series in which we share our journey with these heroes:

  • Superman = X-ray Vision -Insight through Social Collaboration
  • Jean Gray (X-men) = Telepathy -Larger than life minds coming together
  • Night Crawler = Teleportation -Travel at the speed of thought
  • The Flash = Sonic speed -Faster than a speeding workflow

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This famous life lesson was eloquently phrased by Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben (Parker is better known as the Amazing Spider-Man). Parker applied this valuable lesson to his work as a superhero, using his superpowers for the greater good of humanity.

IT leaders may not see themselves as having “great power,” but they really do, especially in today’s IT-dependent business landscape. They need to unleash that power or face the possibility of becoming second-tier in the eyes of business leaders.

IT heroes need to exercise their power responsibly to maximize positive change for themselves, their company, and their customers.

Today, collaboration software offers an opportunity for key IT personnel to flex their powers and bring the business together in a team-building environment. This allows for more voices to be heard and more opinions to be shared, which in turn solves problems in more creative ways while increasing productivity.

Start your journey toward becoming an IT Business Superhero by discovering your superpowers: interact with four heroic friends while exploring the essential discipline of information technology in the 21st century.

Jean Grey of the X-Men has decided to join us today on our path toward indestructible greatness.

“The collaborative tools of today bring major value to innovative thinkers by echoing their goals, thoughts, notes, discussions, documents, and brainstorming sessions to an entire company.”1 — The Huffington Post

How Collaboration Impacts Business

86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as being responsible for workplace failures.2

Gifted with today’s collective technology you, as the IT leader, have been granted the superpower of reading minds ( aka telepathy), just like Jean Grey of the X-Men. You need to know what your employees are thinking. The good news is that you don't have to use telepathy! Employees need to feel that their feedback is heard and leveraged in order to be highly engaged in their jobs; thus, they are often quite willing to provide that feedback.

Companies used to rely on surveys to collect and analyze employee feedback. Recently, some have focused on more friendly survey tools that improve the analytics and interpretation of results. Surveys continue to be useful, but are not adequate in isolation. While they may capture broad sentiment at a certain point in time, the results reflect only that point in time.

Employees often have valuable insights in the course of their workdays that they’d like to share . Finding a way to capture those insights, in context. produces immediate results. Generalized feedback collected via e-mail or suggestion boxes is dated and lacks peer input. Feedback and ideas should be encouraged and solicit peer engagement while offering enterprise-grade security and appropriate privacy.

Finding an easy way to deliver feedback is paramount. People are more willing to give it if the process is easy and relevant to what they are working on.

With these needs in mind, an approach that works for today’s business environments considers the following:

  • In-Context Capture: Feedback is captured in context, precisely where an employee works and absorbs information (e. g., comments read on Wiki, in-context conversations around work projects).
  • Scoping and Soliciting Feedback: A large enterprise requires mechanisms to capture companywide feedback as well as that specific to a particular business unit, department, product, service, or team. Unsolicited feedback should be actively solicited—yes, that sounds a little odd, but read on.
  • Balancing Transparency and Privacy: A good compromise allows for the degree of transparency required by the subject matter as well as for the comfort of the employees involved. Typically, this means deciding which individuals should be able to see and respond to the feedback.
  • Analysis: This step provides a timely means of obtaining macro-level metrics for analysis.

Employees might springboard off one another’s contributions if friendly amendments were encouraged. Ideation blogs generated by vibrant communities are optimal for this purpose.

In-Context Capture

Providing a unified system in which work, communication, and ideation exchanges take place and information gathers is significantly more effective than sending out periodic requests for employees to visit a separate, often unfamiliar system to give their feedback or input. An enterprise intranet with modern social capabilities fits this bill nicely.

Ideas can be harvested organically while employees “work in context” (one of our core social business and collaboration teachings). When employees work in context, leaders and others can see what everyone is thinking, and view their work "out loud." They can quickly observe the communication flow and status of a project. They can also see ad-hoc observations and the informed contributions of others. They can then leverage these contributions to the organization’s benefit.

A good platform can provide an overview of your organization's work. You are quickly able to view the communications and feedback around a process.

Scoping and Soliciting Feedback

An ideation blog is a blog dedicated to the submission of ideas and feedback. Its key benefits are the ability to scope visibility to a particular audience inside a community, the ability for peers who see the ideation blog to vote on ideas submitted by others, and the ability to comment on the idea.

As stated earlier, it is especially beneficial to scope input effectively when one is part of a large organization. One reason for that is that a large, identifiable group within the company could dominate the conversation and de-motivate others whose concerns are beyond those of that group. Having dedicated areas—say, ideation blogs inside particular communities—mitigates this tendency by allowing employees to see mainly the topics that matter to them.

An effective approach to “soliciting unsolicited feedback” is to constantly remind employees that their input is expected and welcome and to show them where to easily provide that input. So you aren’t soliciting a specific response so much as inviting feedback to come forth. Keeping visual reminders in front of employees encourages their engagement.

An organization effectively solicits scoped feedback and ideas when it also provides guidance for how to find and use the appropriate area for the specific type of ideation. This is can be done by providing menus, pages, links, and instructions so that employees can easily determine where ideas for each topic belong.

Balancing Transparency and Privacy

Transparency: For many topics, the most brilliant ideas are derived when everything is conducted with full transparency, either to all employees, or to a material subset of employees who can reasonably be privy to the topic. Where sharing with a particular audience is acceptable, more is generally better when it comes to peer input. Seeing peer input creates engagement. It also opens the door for “friendly amendments” to be submitted by others who agree with the idea but can help improve it further. A lot of support—evidenced by a lot of votes and a vibrant conversation around an idea—can produce great outcomes.

First, this often allows a leader to appreciate the worth of an idea that otherwise would not have been perceived as valuable enough to act on in the near term.

Second, peer feedback is highly empowering and motivating to the employee who submitted the idea and to the team who contributed. It is a powerful loop that motivates others to participate when they see that an idea has been validated and acted upon.

Privacy: Certain topics by their nature must be strictly limited in terms of their audience. One example is when communities are created to oversee a planned merger or acquisition. Before the fact, perhaps only certain senior executives see the full content—after the fact, an integration team may be granted access to content. The right platform allows the visibility of an entire community’s thoughts to be hidden from the view of anyone not explicitly granted access to them. By extension, applications such as ideation blogs, activities, and Wikis are secured to the access of the community. If you are not a member of the community, not even the name of the community should show up in search results if knowledge of its existence would violate the confidentiality of the subject.

Comfort with Sharing (Shyness)

Many employees, with encouragement, will actively share ideas and feedback in full view of their peers. Others may only feel comfortable sharing their input with management, not with their peers. Surveys are still a good vehicle in this case, particularly when they are integrated into the enterprise intranet platform.

Analysis

A modern-enterprise social intranet platform should make it possible to capture metrics about trending topics within that enterprise. It should have feeds for most of its data, and it should be possible to export data that need further analysis either via integrated tools or via tools used by IT on behalf of the business.

Outcomes of Adopting The Right Team Collaboration Software: Figuratively Becoming Telepathic

You can figuratively become telepathic by harnessing the collective intelligence of your employees. The Right Team Collaboration Software platform allows your organization to . . .

  • benefit from ideas, knowledge, and findings as they surface
  • capture real-time feedback, as opposed to annual or semi-annual surveys that tell you what your workforce, in aggregate, was thinking a year ago (subject to any bias built into your survey design)
  • achieve consensus more quickly
  • increase transparency and engagement
  • reduce friction and re-work
  • improve the quality of your work environment

In addition to giving you insights like you’ve never had before, collaboration tools save you time and money.

Castlebreck can help you become a superhero for collaboration in your organization.

“Based on our experience working on products serving hundreds of thousands of users, we teach leaders that great ideas often come from an unexpected person who has the right vantage point around an objective or problem. Much like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, capturing the thoughts of the workforce harnesses its collective intelligence. Castlebreck’s clients get to tap into their employees’ potential to innovate and improve their business every day by using social business best practices.”
— Colin Breckles, Castlebreck

Has your company incorporated the skill of telepathy?

Are you using your leadership position responsibly for the betterment of your organization?

Stay tuned for our next article, on teleportation with the Night Crawler, and learn how to travel at the speed of thought.

We would love to hear your feedback, and we encourage you to share our article series with your team. Download our e-book that summarizes how to become a Business Leader.

Find out more about our Connected Collaboration Institute Training, inquire about a business assessment, or see the platform for yourself. Our software solutions increase employee engagement, improve company productivity, and are easy to support via IT. The team at Castlebreck is here to help you become a hero within your organization.

1 Huffington Post | http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brian-honigman/business-collaboration_b_4548950.html

2 Salesforce | http://blog.clearcompany.com/7-workplace-collaboration-statistics-that-will-have-you-knocking-down-cubicles

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