“Individually we are one drop, but together we are an ocean.” In the same vein, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The Group Managing Director, Mr Thomas Oloriegbe during his engagement lecture at the February Executive Management Performance Review (EMPR) started with the above quotes from Ryunosoke Satoro and Helen Keller respectively. The meeting was held at the conference room of Nosak Distilleries Limited, Amuwo-Odofin on March 10, 2022.

In his lecture titled, ‘Workplace Collaboration’, he highlighted that workplace collaboration is about keeping track of each other’s progress in the year, which can be benchmarked using both objective and subjective measures. “Workplace collaboration is getting the job done through teamwork with purpose and cooperation to achieve a common goal.”

The GMD went on to enumerate the types of workplace collaboration to include teamwork, discussion, and brainstorming.

“Teamwork is the ability to trust others enough to deliver the tasks assigned to them without being micromanaged.” He added that teamwork is also about rendering support and a helping hand, corporation, and contribution to ensure results are achieved as well as guaranteeing a harmonious environment.

Discussion being a type of collaboration mechanism, he said, “Communication is incomplete without listening. Hence discussion is about interactions giving rise to listening as an ability every leader must cultivate.” He highlighted that discussion helps to resolve problems, it engenders confidence, it brings about politeness, it results in the cross-fertilization of ideas, and improves leadership skills.

Brainstorming as a type of collaboration comes with some basic rules that should be observed among the teams. These include deferring judgments so others can bring their opinions to the table, encouraging wild ideas because no idea is completely useless, improving the ideas of others, staying focused on the topic, taking one conversation at a time, and being visual conscious (show your video in virtual meetings).

The skills for workplace collaboration are in two categories – general and managers/leaders.

The general skills include active listening, avoiding barriers to communication, a positive attitude, a good sense of humor, giving credit for contributions, avoiding deadlock, and ensuring consensus. While the skills for managers and leaders include reviewing your communication skills, being approachable and assertive (i.e., avoiding micromanaging people), working on the strength and weaknesses of team members, listening as much as you talk, encouraging group discussions, show trust (avoid micro-managing and delegate duties), and recognize and resolve conflicts.

For efficient workplace collaboration, Microsoft office 365 is a game-changer that has put in place features that will promote collaboration between and among teams. With the Office 365 platform, employees can share files, co-work on files or documents irrespective of their locations, audio, and video communications, setting up and track tasks by beads of departments or supervisors, among others.

Mr Oloriegbe concluded by saying, “Workplace collaboration is crucial for successful innovation. This usually takes time to build hence the need for the entire workforce to connect with each other.”