Collaboration can take many forms either within a company or between a company and it’s customers and prospects. However, as Morten Hansen says in his book Collaboration, there is no point in collaborating just for collaboration’s sake. The whole point of any type of collaboration is always to meet a business need or objective. This means that if you have departments or individuals collaborating but you aren’t seeing your business objectives met that there is potentially a problem. The key to collaboration is action and this applies as much to Enterprise 2.0 as it does to external facing social media efforts.
When thinking about “listening” or engaging, again the important thing is not to listen or engage, it’s to gain ACTIONABLE insight (and to empower your customers and your team). It’s important to make this distinction both when making the case for collaboration (or listening/engaging) and when measuring the results of these efforts. There is no point in trying to sell a listening tool, engagement strategy, or collaboration initiative unless you can also sell the business objectives that you are going to meet. Instead of saying “we are going to build a community around brand XYZ,” finish the sentence and say something like, “we are going to build a community around XYZ that is going to help us decrease market research costs which are currently rising,” or, “we are going to implement an internal collaboration platform to help unify our brand, improve productivity, and increase our rate of innovation; all problems that we are currently struggling with.”
There are a few key things to point out here:
- Don’t sell collaboration (or anything else for that matter), sell the ability to meet a business objective (s)
- When selling or looking to show results, make sure you have a solid understanding of the problem that you are looking to solve
Without action, collaboration, engaging, listening, and everything your company is looking to do is fruitless.