9 tips for successful team collaboration

Collaboration is an important success factor for any organization. In fact, according to Yuval Noah Harari (author of the bestseller Sapiens), the capacity to cooperate in large numbers is the main reason why the human species has become so successful! Still, smooth collaboration between colleagues isn’t necessarily a given.

Problems and challenges facing teams

Team collaboration can be quite a challenge. Especially when an assignment or project hasn’t been going the way you’d like it to. Meetings and meetups bear little fruit to the point where you get stuck. The result: irritation, frustration and demotivation.

In order to eliminate the problems above, it is important that team members are aware of the problems and challenges associated with collaboration.

This includes:

  • Lack of a clear dot on the horizon. This tends to cause confusion about the task distribution and time schedule.
  • For good collaboration to be established, it is important that everyone considers themselves a worthy group or team member. Compare it to someone who just joined a sports team: this person wants to prove themselves and gain popularity among their team members as quickly as possible. The same applies to professional collaboration: each team member must be open to the strengths of their colleagues and promote mutual acceptance. In practice, this tends to be a challenging process.
  • An unclear distribution of tasks and roles, giving rise to misunderstandings about who is supposed to do what.
  • Sloppy communication. This problem is often the result of poor listening or an imbalance between introverted and dominant characters who like to take the spotlight.
  • The absence of or failure to adhere to sound and clear agreements. It is important that each team member musters the discipline to honor agreements and execute their portion of the work carefully and competently.
  • A leader whose leadership style does not match the team. The result is that you lose control of the collaboration process and risk the resistance of unhappy employees.

Improved collaboration?

How to shape good collaboration? Improving and streamlining collaboration usually holds the key to success. But it is easier said than done. Raising your collaboration game takes more than scribbling down a plan. – Read more

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So how do you evaluate your employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities?

My Post (15)Employees’ professional profiles are primarily the sum total of their knowledge, skills, and abilities – often abbreviated simply to KSA. But how do you evaluate your employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities in practice? And what tools are available to help? Here’s how to do it!

KSA explained

The abbreviation KSA stands for knowledge, skills, and abilities. They form a major part of an individual’s personal and professional profiles.

Knowledge

Knowledge is primarily theoretical in nature. If you’re knowledgeable about a certain subject, then you’ve acquired a lot of facts and mastered the concepts and theories underlying the topic in question. We usually gain knowledge from information sources such as books, journals, internet, or traditional classroom-style courses and lectures.

Skills

Skills are primarily more ‘practical’ in nature than knowledge. They’re rooted in knowledge, but are generally acquired by means of training courses and work experience. A skill is the ability to perform a certain task or role competently and relates to application of knowledge in a particular situation or context.

Abilities

Abilities are very similar to skills in many respects. However, there are important differences. An ability is broader – a combination of knowledge, skills, attitudes, and other personal traits.

About KSA

The sum total of knowledge, skills, and abilities define a role or job title. Does a candidate or employee have the right KSA combination for a specific opening? Using the KSA model, you can see quickly and clearly if the right person is in the right role/job.

The US government still regularly uses the KSA concept, especially at a federal level, to recruit suitable staff, using a scale from 0 to 100. A score of 70 is generally a minimum requirement to be eligible for a job opening or role.

Nowadays, the model is primarily used to map and analyze the success of, and necessity for, a particular training program. In other words, a useful tool for identifying potential skills gaps and finding concrete solutions.

How to evaluate knowledge, skills, and abilities

You can evaluate each of the three KSAs, assuming you have the right tools and adopt the right methods. It’s high time we looked at exactly how to evaluate these three components. – Read more

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How continuous improvement and skills management go hand in hand

My Post - 2020-03-09T180954.457.pngYour organization’s success is largely dependent on your employees’ skills and competences. Skills management and continuous improvement allow you to map skills and competences, and then plan and develop them further.

But how should you tackle strategies such as continuous improvement and skills management in practice? And how do they complement each other? Find out how!

Why adopt continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement has almost become a standard slogan in today’s business world in which market demand and requirements are changing by the day. It’s key for companies looking to remain competitive in the longer term.

But what is continuous improvement?

Continuous improvement – also known as Lean and Kaizen – is an ongoing effort to improve products, services, or processes by means of ‘incremental’ improvements over time. It also addresses issues such as cost reduction.

A characteristic of this way of working is that it doesn’t involve one-off measures, but continuous improvements as a gradual, never-ending change – or more simply ‘getting better all the time’. What’s more, these improvements are put forward and carried out by the employees themselves.

3 steps to continuous improvement

Continuous improvement can be split into several pre-defined phases. Read about these phases below.

  1. Analyze and generate suggestions for improvement. This first phase involves identifying and classifying any problems. Analyze the facts and then clearly determine your organization’s core values and objectives, and the extent to which these relate to current operational processes. Always keep your customers’ perspective top of mind while doing so. What do your customers want?
    Make sure your employees put forward suggestions for improvements as a team to encourage employee engagement. Workshops and brainstorming sessions are also good ways to implement this first phase.
  2. The second phase involves putting into practice the suggestions for improvement that you identified in Phase 1. Again, do this as a team and involve as many stakeholders as possible, for example other departments, suppliers, customers, etc. Experience has shown that diversity often leads to better solutions and wider acceptance.
  3. The third and final phase involves monitoring and learning. Once you’ve implemented the suggestions, it’s important to measure and monitor their effect. Check that they’ve actually resolved the problems and/or to what extent. Evaluate your solution carefully and use any insights gained as input for your next incremental improvement.

What are the benefits?

But what’s the benefit to your organization from implementing continuous improvement? Once you’ve analyzed your results, you should discover a number of benefits.

  • Continuous improvement helps you improve processes. Throughput times are often shorter, costs reduced, and errors minimized.
  • By embedding continuous improvement throughout your organization, you’ll also raise customer knowledge levels. When every employee knows what customers want and expect, it’s so much easier to identify the components of processes or customer journeys that need attention. You’ll end up meeting your customers’ needs and requirements far more easily, and even exceeding their expectations.
  • Continuous improvement also raises knowledge levels among employees about your organization’s objectives. Terms such as ‘strategy’ and ‘core values’ then take on greater meaning for your entire workforce.
  • It also encourages ongoing professional development at individual, team, and leadership levels. Ultimately, your workforce will become far more flexible and dynamic.
  • Continuous improvement also leads to greater engagement, reduced absenteeism, and increased job satisfaction.
  • In the current economic climate, change is the only constant. Today’s innovations may be totally outdated in six months’ time. Continuous improvement encourages agility and increases adaptability. Vital for any company looking to remain relevant in the future!

Methodologies incorporating continuous improvement

Various methodologies make extensive use of continuous improvement, especially in the manufacturing industry. – Read more

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