Many Organizations can’t seem to understand why their people are not collaborating effectively. No matter how much they try, collaboration seems not to be working for them. As long as the prospect of collaboration will achieve greater results, then why not collaborate? One of the main assumptions, and often overlooked, is whether people are willing. Before you can solve any problem, you have to understand the cause. So why are people not embracing collaboration? What are the barriers to collaboration across organization units?
Not Willing to Reach Out to Others / Barriers Across Organization Units
Attitude is the first thing here. The people involved may have this conservative mindset so communication typically stays within the group and people protect self-interests. Have you ever experienced such a situation? Pride may be getting in the way.
Status gaps and self-reliance are other attitudes that fall into this type of barrier. People, who have an attitude of self-reliance, will feel we need to solve our own problems, instead of going outside of the group. Sometimes fear can hold us back simply for fear of being perceived as weak.
Hoarding Barrier: Not Willing to Provide Help
The barrier hoarding refers to people who may hold back or not cooperate because of several reasons. Competitive relationships between departments over performance or ownership of results will limit collaboration.
In addition, people fear losing power if they are sharing information or if the perception of collaboration takes too much time. Power struggles in organizations will persist until leadership can instill trust.
When you reward people only for their work and not for helping others, this will fuel the hoarding. To overcome hoarding, acknowledging every contributor or the whole team for the result, not individuals.
Search Barrier: Not Able to Find What You Are Looking For
The search barrier exists when solutions embed within organizations and people are unable to find the information or people that could help them. Furthermore, too much information can also hinder search in an organization. In such large companies where resources are spread across departments and divisions and geographic areas, search is also a problem due to the lack of sufficient networks to connect people.
However, the mindset is changing as collaborative enterprise strategies and technologies to connect people online across geographic boundaries are improving the discovery of information and resources. People are becoming accustomed to working in a virtual world of multiple connected devices and browser-based collaboration tools to work anywhere, anytime. In the same token, people do need face-to-face communication, whether it is in person, or using voice and video communication systems that can make physical connections the next best thing.
Transfer Barrier: Not Able to Work with People You Don’t Know Well
The transfer barrier occurs when people do not know how to work together. It takes experience to master how to work with others.
In some particular situations, people work better together, including musicians, scientists, and sports teams. The common elements among collaborative cultures and groups that tend to have close working relationships are trust, respect, and friendship.