1: to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor
2: to cooperate with or willingly assist…
3: to cooperate with an agency or instrumentality with which one is not immediately connected.
If 2012 was the year that social became an enterprise word. Then 2013 is the year that the enterprise strives to collaborate. Collaboration tools will abound this year. The roadblocks to cooperation will fall by the wayside as digital enterprise tools cross the great divides of departments and multi-orgs. We have seen Enterprise Social Networks make solid footholds in 2012 and companies make initial investments in social analytics and listening systems to enable workable connections access to our once secular enterprise eco-systems. As roadblocks to cooperative work environments fall away collaboration will come into focus.
Companies’ worldwide will be “able” to collaborate making the real question for most organizations in 2013, “are we collaborating?” Is your company reaping the value of its Social investments or put plainly is your company maximizing its newfound collaboration potential?
Making a behavior technologically possible does not mean that it will actually be happening. The answer for most organizations asking themselves the Collaboration question will undoubtedly be, "not yet." Old behaviors are hard to break. It’s a challenge to ask an organization as a whole to work differently—to rely on each other, to rely on partners, on suppliers, on critics, on advocates. Reliance requires trust. I may be wrong but very few of us look at our paycheck and see it as a measure of how much trust we were able to build upon.
In most US companies’ trust is not yet synonymous with work. Yet, trust is a key component to collaboration. Can each of your employees trust that co-workers, consumers, board members, shareholders, critics, and advocates offer value despite their disparate positions? While most companies will whole heartily agree that core to their work ethic is that the effective value of any effort (Sales, Delivery, Service, and so on) can be tangibly enhanced when people collaborate together--work together towards a common outcome.
Social has opened the way to a new business paradigm. But opening a paradigm is not the same as ensuring its success in your organization. Social depends on engagement for success. Collaboration is at the core of effective engagement. Collaboration makes you an equal partner with critics and advocates alike. Collaboration means you are getting and making the most of the each Eco-systems you are part of.
How is your company doing? Are your Social tools delivering as you expected? Where do you want to be in 2013? Are you ready to do what is possible? Can you identify your organizational roadblocks?
If you answered those questions affirmatively then collaboration is in reach for your company. Luckily collaboration behavior can be changed quickly provided there is a focused and supported effort from the top of an organization. Key social tools like gamification will ensure behaviors that have strategic support, like collaboration, can become the new norm in virtually any organization. Step up and make collaboration the top commitment for your company in 2013.