We collaborate all the time. While most of it is within our team, sometimes we need to work closely with third parties and consultants too. Like for example, working with your digital agency for developing your online presence or interacting with your lawyer. Most of the times, this external collaboration seems tedious as communication takes longer than usual as compared to team communication.
While through effective team collaboration, successful teams achieve much more in terms of getting work done; with external collaborators we often hesitate to communicate. The most effective way of communicating with them is face-to-face which can be expensive and not possible all the time. This can also delay decision making. The other way would be through emails but things may get lost. The very thought of working with third parties seems tiresome. But not all’s lost. With the presence of contextual online messaging tools, communication outside the organisation is easy. There are also many other advantages why collaborating with external members is actually beneficial.
Here’s why it’s actually constructive working with external collaborators
- Getting work done
This one’s a granted. Yes, you have hired them/are working with them because you want to get something done or achieve something. They offer additional skill sets or specialise in areas that your team or organisation is lacking in. They bring whole new level of skill sets to the table that you should utilise effectively to enhance your business.
- Fresh perspective/unintended insight
They also offer a very fresh perspective to your business. When you and your team have been working at something for a while, the thoughts tend to get streamlined in a particular direction. Working with someone external can offer a very new angle to look at things and sometimes it’s the best for business. Example, when we hired our UI/UX consultant, she came up with a drastically new design of our app, which was completely different from how we were imagining our product. Her take was fresh in the sense that she saw how people would like to use a productivity app and greatly helped us reshape our product to a more user-friendly interface. I agree that that was what her work was but she also pitched in a lot for the way we should brand our company (again, it was quite different from the direction in which we were going).
- Pitching your business
They will inadvertently be pitching for your business since you are their client, giving you more credibility and exposure. They might also start using your product or service becoming your client gradually (so much for wishful thinking!). In case not, you will anyway be benefitting from getting mentioned on their site as one of their clients.
- Meeting new people/make new professional connections
It’s always great to increase your professional network. Knowing and working with third parties often helps in creating long term professional ties.
- Increasing your knowledge base
Most often than not, valuable lesson are learnt while communicating with consultants. Their specialised knowledge helps us learn a few things in a long run.
- Pre-planning your activities to collaborate better
When we are working with external collaborators, the communication is lesser, often spaced out and with each point of communication, you want the best possible result. Due to this, we normally will plan much in advance, pre-emptively thinking over each aspect where we need their assistance. This helps to become the most productive before and during our interactions.
Use productivity apps to help with external collaboration. Apps that give you the same level of features for external collaborators as the ones with team collaboration might be a good idea. Maybe give us a shot too, we have an array of features just for this (just a harmless suggestion).
So collaborate away!