Innovation comes from the most unusual places

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Owner of this photo is Flickr user Jason Alley. Original location of the image:
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The preliminary processes for hiring someone usually require specific knowledge demands, framed within the extensions of their activity. Of course, there is no better way in finding the most appropriate person for the job you’re hiring. At least as a first base criteria.

After the recruitment process is done and you decide upon the most suitable candidate, they are expected to perform exactly the actions found in their job description. But how often is any job narrowed only to those specific requirements? Well, in my experience, NEVER. I saw back office employees assisting system administrators with different commands in Excel and even secretaries helping managers fix different errors on their computers. Collaboration is a great enterprise asset and sometimes the person least expected proves to be exactly the key to your dilemma.

For collaboration to work, however, there are more conditions that needs to be fulfilled. It asks for engagement, availability and sociability.

There are some main obstacles that usually stand in the way:

  • Geographically remote employees. Being part of a distributed team exposes members to higher degrees of risks when it comes to self-organization and often alters different stages of working processes. All these extra factors tend to inhibit the social aspects of their professional connections and that’s why many times their knowledge is not cultivated enough. You can read more on the subject from this blog post we did about 2 months ago.
  • Personality (shy). No matter how open and connected your company’s culture is, there will always be persons that won’t step out their comfort zone. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but being approachable will bring more advantages to the table. Having your space might feel like a confidence maintenance, but it won’t help you enhance it. It takes two to tango!
  • Too strict hierarchy. Organizations’ structure should talk more about the responsibilities of each position and less about power. Enforcing superiority ranks acknowledgement will lead to false flattering or (on the contrary) estranging behaviors, both negatively affecting constructive communication channels. Managers should take interest in creating a speak-your-mind environment, thus encouraging collaboration, no matter their employees roles. Don’t let glorification stand in your way, a reachable manager and a balanced atmosphere is the most natural background for respect to flourish.
  • Lack of established communication processes. Assuming the obstacles above are not present within your company or community, collaboration is still a long way from being active. Creating the proper outlook is never enough: you also need to implement it. And for that to happen, you need to provide efficient collaboration tools. Enterprise 2.0 is a resourceful industry now and reaching for a useful and practical social software is the best method to drive knowledge sharing.

For each of the above barriers there is a solution, the last one being actually both: give people the right communication tools.

Geographic and time zones distances are no longer an inconvenient if the tool is online and 24/7 accessible. Offering a virtual space for collaboration can overcome shyness and make introverted people feel more comfortable in sharing their opinions and expertise. Common access, inter-departmental communication and easy accessible managers create an engaging environment and operative collaboration.

Think of it as a shared office desk. Everyone is right there and you can just stretch a little to your office colleague to get your answer. Your solution could be found in the experience of one of the managers board, of a newcomer, or even of a junior. You’d be surprised by how knowledgeable and creative some under the radar people can be!

Happy Knowledge Sharing!

Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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