Have you ever seen someone put on the spot like this: you’re at a party, and someone says: “Steve is so funny… let’s get him over here… Steve, come here… I was just telling everyone that you are the funniest person I know…”
What happens next? Well, usually some sort of awkward social scene where Steve is put in front of the group with the expectation that he is about to launch into some sort of stand-up comedy routine. Of course, what actually happens is that Steve feels put on the spot — he’s unable to conjure laughter on demand, and everyone goes back to the rest of the party feeling a little let down.
It’s hard to be funny on demand. Being funny is something that usually just happens. You often need something to be funny about and you need a reason to be funny. That reason, that thing, pulls the “funny” out.
It’s the same thing for collaboration — collaboration needs to be pulled out of people, not pushed onto them.
Inbound marketing is based on the same notion: it is far more effective to pull interest out of people rather than to try to push it onto them.
So just like the situation at the party, telling a bunch of employees to “start collaborating” is unnatural. People don’t just collaborate for collaboration’s sake. They need a reason.
Ideas Lead to Collaboration
When it comes to groups of employees, ideas are a great reason to collaborate.
Ideas start with people. They start within. They come out naturally. People talk about what they want to talk about, and they naturally gravitate towards people that want to talk about similar things.
When employees come together to talk about ideas, they clump around ideas that interest them, and when they do, silos start to break down.
Employees from different backgrounds, let alone from different divisions in the company, see ideas from different perspectives. When those perspectives are shared, behold: collaboration!
But it all starts with the idea. Without the idea, there is nothing to collaborate “on.”
Ideas enable collaboration by allowing conversations to be self-directed and self-forming.
So as an employer, creating a company culture that allows ideas to be shared easily, naturally, and transparently doesn’t just further your innovation agenda, it also increases collaboration.