“The world is obsessed with lone geniuses…
Yet, the best-known lone geniuses relied heavily on collaboration.”
– Mike Trigg, Guest Writer, Entrepreneur magazine
Digital Transformation Requires Creative Collaboration
Today, companies of all shapes and sizes – from small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) to multinational corporations – are asking their employees to apply digital technologies for higher operational efficiency, greater competitive advantage or both. Pick a business discipline or department at your firm – manufacturing, service, sales, marketing, finance, human resources, etc. – sooner rather than later your team will be asked to innovate and help transform the organization.
Given all the gadgetry at our disposal these days, viewing innovation as a technical process – i.e., finding more ways to combine software and hardware – is tempting. But it’s people who innovate, not technology. Because, at its core, business is about people vying with other people to provide products and services to still more people. In truth, people are the engines of digital transformation, which means, in turn, innovating demands some form of creative collaboration.
Connect all these dots and you must reach two conclusions:
- Planning, moderating and/or participating in meetings where creative collaboration occurs is virtually inevitable for any member of any organization at any level.
- And with today’s increasingly mobile workforce, those sessions will involve a unified communications platform to bring people in the office, working remotely and spread across the country and/or world together to develop, share and implement innovative ideas.
So, how do you lead a business meeting to foster creative collaboration? Of course, we’ve tapped the minds of leadership gurus and productivity pundits to bring you some guidance.
5 Techniques for Using Moderation Tools to Lead Creative Collaboration
“The single most transformative force in leadership is a conversation.”
– Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak blog
“We grow in community, not isolation,” consultant Dan Rockwell wrote in a recent post to his Leadership Freak blog. People need other people to create. “Leadership in its fundamental form is about connecting with others,” Rockwell says in another post.
1. Collaborate with Everyone in Some Way
One key to strategic meeting management is helping people show, share and present ideas efficiently and effectively. Our unified meeting platform allows multiple participants to share documents, presentations, videos and other content forms within one meeting at the same time, without having to email or upload files ahead of the session. But there would be little value to this feature if you don’t help attendees elaborate their thoughts, too. Our “zoom and annotate” feature enables moderators to focus and direct discussion on behalf of all participants.
2. Talk and Listen in Equal Measure
In a recent guest column for Entrepreneur magazine, Mike Trigg, COO of the file-sharing firm Hightail, wrote that good teammates “communicate frequently” but “talk and listen in equal measure.” We agree. That’s why we’ve shared a lot of advice about becoming a better collaborative communicator, sharpening the ways you talk to your colleagues. We’ve given counsel regarding listening skills, too, heightening your attention to what you hear in a meeting. Because successful collaboration involves talking and listening by moderators and participants alike. Balance is the key, and moderators should embrace this responsibility, leading by example.
3. Stay curious
Rockwell believes “humility stays curious.” We concur and encourage collaborative leaders, especially meeting moderators, to take the initiative in discovering the insights and opinions of meeting participants. And in the spirit of our first bullet, this initiative should involve talking and listening – but these processes need not be out loud. Our polling feature is a fast way to gather feedback from an entire group, while our chat feature can be a private way to solicit comments from individuals.
4. Ask second questions
The power of follow-up questions is well-known. But what’s not often explored is the question of timing. Skillful moderators don’t limit their second questions to the moments after a participant speaks. As we’ve advocated in a past post, the end of a meeting is an excellent time for second questions. And if you often run out of time, start recording your sessions. Our archive function captures all meeting content in all forms – verbal, visual and otherwise – so you can easily review critical points and draft questions for your next gathering.
5. Release the need to be right
As we argued upfront, business is about people, which means digital transformation is about people, too. So, as Rockwell advises, meeting leaders must keep in mind that “relationships are more valuable than being right.” Creative collaboration is never about reaching the “right” conclusion. It’s about reaching conclusions that can only be reached by inclusion.