At the heart of a successful marketing team is skillful communication.
Seeking feedback on a design, breaking out into a creative brainstorm, answering client questions — there are so many different reasons someone at an agency will partner with someone else on a daily basis. There’s no debate that you need to have a strategy for cross-team communication and collaboration; it’s a matter of how you go about it. How do you implement collaboration with your team, and how do you sustain it?
Take a look at your company’s communication pain points, and find what works best for your team.
Challenge #1: Meeting Regularity
A full calendar is a bummer, and an empty calendar is a red flag Your happy medium can exist, and it’s a matter of gauging when communication is needed and when it isn’t. We’ve all seen the coffee mugs slyly commenting on “meetings that could have been emails,” but you also shouldn’t overly rely on written communication. If a conversation has to do with serious coaching or feedback, and that message could be misconstrued — it’s best to hop on a phone call, video chat, or swing by in-person where possible to ensure common ground is reached.
That said, if you have standing meetings that seem to devolve into non-work chatter or employees simultaneously working during the meetings consistently, you may want to re-evaluate the necessity of that meeting. You can meet less often, or offer project updates a different way.
Challenge #2: Lacking Physical or Virtual Space for Collaboration
Not every office can have bean bags and indoor slides, but you still need to find a way to welcome team collaboration. If your employees all work onsite together, central areas armed with white boards and seating areas can help teams come together. If you have a remote team and you don’t have virtual space for your teammates to communicate, you run into a different problem, and cause your team to be even more siloed.
Challenge #3: Too Much Back-and-Forth
No one wants to get caught up in a painful dialogue that could be resolved in three seconds through a simple chat or project management tool. Emails have a tendency to get lost or forgotten in long chains, leading to the ever-pleasant, “Per my last email…”
Challenge #4: Too Many Communications Channels
There is such a thing as too many options. Between G-chat, text, email, video meetings, and Slack, it’s easy to lose the message and confuse your team. At a certain point, centralizing communication is necessary.
Steer Collaboration in the Right Direction
“A ship doesn’t sail with yesterday’s wind.” If you want your company to talk, you have to start the conversation. Follow the five T’s of a successful setup for a collaborative environment.
Your baseline is transparency. The team must feel comfortable with the level of information you provide them. Be authentic. Don’t tell your employees what they want to hear; tell them the truth. Even if news is bad, or the answer is that you don’t have the answer right now, it’s best to be clear, open, and honest. In the long run, your team will appreciate and trust you more.
Conversation is a two-way street. Hand the microphone over to the team and listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, make sure your employees feel comfortable to be honest with you — they shouldn’t be holding back for fear of retaliation. When you are actively listening to their feedback, you can show this in the moment through things like body language and note-taking, and in the long-term by implementing changes based on the feedback.
The trial period may run longer than you think, but it’s necessary. Whether you’re building a team from the ground up or trying to mend a broken team, it takes time to get to a point where everyone is eager to connect and collaborate. Be consistent in your approach, and don’t let discouragement stop you from building a vessel for trust and transparency.
You’re working with a team — a crew of creatives that were picked for a reason and that stick around for a reason. Emphasize the importance of being a team, and emphasize the appreciation you have for your team. Keep an eye out for team members who are struggling to collaborate together. If you notice any rifts, address them directly, but privately, with those involved. You can also avoid issues like these by helping your team bond outside of their work projects.
With the right tools, collaboration can easily be streamlined and made efficient. With a tool that consolidates worklists, client requests, creative collaboration like concepting and wireframing, and feedback — just like CROOW — you can bring your team together within one unified workspace, leaving less room for error and more time to create.
Embark on a Journey of Collaboration
Take some time to set the stage for successful communication. By putting in the work and establishing consistent processes up front, you’ll move your team into an environment that promotes collaboration on a daily basis. Communication and collaboration will become second nature.
Ready to get started? CROOW can help! Check out its organizational and collaborative features today.