teams and team leaders

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Get teams to work better together.

Collaboration Lab

 

As companies restructure their operations in order to stay relevant and profitable, the need for effective collaboration within and among teams is ever-increasing. Yet the challenges to harmony and efficiency within teams have increased as well. Constant changes without successful implementation have led employees to feel fatigued, cynical, and frustrated. Geographical, cultural, and generational gaps within companies make clear and timely communication difficult, leading to siloed environments, power battles, turf wars, and information hoarding. And the pace at which business happens or is expected to happen can create an imbalance, with the loudest voices dominating the discourse and execution and the quietest ones feeling unheard and disempowered.

Although most organizations recognize that effective collaboration is the key to their health and prosperity, most admit they are not very good at it.* They try to restructure departments, add more skills training, or buy new communication technology in the hopes that these things will improve collaboration among their people. Instead, these efforts add layers of complexity to an already complex situation and feed the cycle of stress and dissension at the team level. The inability to work effectively among and across teams is due to poor collaboration rather than a lack of skills, organizational structure, or willingness to cooperate.

Improvement will not emerge of its own accord, but instead requires a quiet revolution of how people communicate and collaborate to achieve a shared outcome. The training, mentoring, and practical tools we provide in C-Lab offer simple, real-world ways to advance change across an organization.

* 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional, Harvard Business Review; 79% of employees cited that colleagues who do not participate is one of the biggest challenges for global virtual teamwork, Culture Wizard; 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures, Salesforce


 

Advanced — but deceptively simple — communication tools to help managers quietly revolutionise the meeting and communications culture.

 
 
 

I was working on a low value customer account and used the techniques I learned to help the client think about the value of our services. The client signed up for a new £1 million deal and there’s a good chance for further business from them.
— Senior Consultant
 
 
 

In meetings I can hear when someone doesn’t understand what needs to be done next and address this on the spot. It prevents people going off and working on the wrong things for four weeks, which helps us stay on time with delivery.
— Senior Solutions Architect
 
 
 

Following my Collaboration Lab programme I am feeling heard for the first time in a work situation at the age of fifty plus. I don’t have to compete for air time and am able to work and think with ease, knowing I will be asked to contribute and that my contribution will be welcomed and valued.
— Senior Consultant

With C-Lab companies are able to have:

OPERATIONAL WINS

Meetings that are well planned, more disciplined, more productive, better attended — and shorter!

  • Everyone understands the purpose of the meeting and who actually needs to be there. During the meeting communication is calm, respectful, and inclusive; people know what the agenda is beforehand and come ready to offer their contribution.

  • Meetings are environments where people can think well, participate, and be heard —including people who are usually quiet.

Re-engaged and empowered employees

  • When everyone is given a chance to contribute, there is more discussion and listening. Interruptions are few and new ideas are welcomed with discernment instead of dismissal.
  • The organisation as a whole benefits from the additional discretionary effort that motivated employees give.

Better integration of ideas and activities across departments

  • Breaking down of silos in and between teams as people engage in a collaborative way.
  • Different ideas and approaches are welcomed, shared, and discussed with ease and without interruption.
  • Diversity of thought is fostered as everyone has an opportunity to contribute.

Better problem-solving

  • Potential problems are identified sooner and resolved quicker, with solutions that work for all stakeholders

Better decision-making

  • Situations where people are off-track or don’t understand what needs to be done are illuminated and corrected in a timely way.

  • Employees see and hear things that often get missed. Improved discourse allows the most important and necessary things to rise to the surface which enables informed decision making and clarity on follow-up activity.

Fully utilized talent and existing resources

  • Discover who isn’t aligned with thinking and action and who needs more help and more direction in order to do their job correctly.
  • Key players, team members, and outlying contributors are able to make the most of the skills they have and the resources available to them.

Improved individual and team productivity

  • Effective listening and cooperation empowers and motivates employees to do their best which leads to better results.

Strategic wins

Greater employee retention

  • In a sector where there is not enough talent to meet demand, it’s particularly important to minimize staff turnover. Engaged and empowered people feel valued and stay with their organisation. 

  • With the ability to attract and retain talent, you’ll spend less time and money on recruitment and training.

Improved customer satisfaction

  • Customers feel listened to and are better able to influence problem solving and decision making.
  • They get better results, faster and are happier with the level of involvement.
  • Happier customers enhances your business reputation.

Retained business and new business wins

  • Happier customers means increased opportunities for further business.
  • Improved reputation increases business wins..

Bottom line results

Reduced costs

  • Reduced people and time spent in meetings.
  • Reduced waste and rework.
  • Reduced time and effort on problem solving.
  • Reduced employee turnover.
  • Reduced customer escalations.

Increased revenue and profit

  • Increased revenue from existing customers and new client wins.
  • Improved margin due to reduced costs.

 

     

     

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    Who C-LAB is For

    C-Lab is a four-month programme for a senior Leadership Team, Middle Leadership Team, project group, team of consultants, or any group of key players that meet regularly in order to get something costly done.

    No specific knowledge is necessary but leaders and key players who leverage value from C-Lab often demonstrate:

    • An understanding of company strategy

    • The ability to influence others

    • An understanding of the importance of improving collaboration internally and with partners and customers

    • Openness to new ways of working and want to learn new tools that will enhance performance in the field

    • Willingness to try out new approaches in the field and hone their approach over time

    • Ability to manage ambiguity, recognising there is no A to Z roadmap for fostering change.


    I’m leading a new team that has to grow our market share rapidly. To do that our strategy has to be right. The tools from C-Lab have helped us form as a team and enable us to think critically about how we go to market.
    — Partner, Business Intelligence

    Key Steps in the programme

    Collaboration Lab is a combination of a Master Class to learn new tools and plan how to implement their use on the ground; monthly group coaching to support the embedding of new practices, plus a series of 1:1 calls to assist with individual challenges with implementation. The following is a breakdown of key steps in the programme:

    • 4 month program

    • Diagnostic process

    • Alignment with company strategy

    • Identifying the right people to participate in the program

    • Design and agree on communications plan

    • Execution of communications plan

    • Building the alliance with participants

    • 2-day Master Class teaching advanced facilitation and communication tools

    • 3 group coaching calls, 1 per month 

    • 3 individual coaching calls, 1 per month

    • Regular group communication via collaboration platform (Slack)

    • Monthly review of progress and discussion with sponsors

    • Mid-point review with participants

    • Closing review with participants

    • Closing review with sponsors

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    C-Lab fosters a significant improvement in the way the company communicates and collaborates virtually and face-to-face. By teaching deceptively simple advanced communication tools managers are able to quietly revolutionise the communications and meeting culture. Teams quit dysfunctional behaviours like competing for air time, talking over each other and across each other, heated discussions which entrench points of view. It eliminates the problem of poor decision-making based on limited information when 30% of the team are people who dominate the dialogue while the other 70% are excluded from contributing. The outcomes are improved collaboration, trust, productivity, and better decision-making.

    To learn more about Collaboration Lab and explore if this programme is right for you and your team:

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    FAQs

    How many people can participate?

    Most Collaboration Lab programmes involve 3 to 8 team leaders. As many members of their team and outlying contributors may also participate, per your discretion.

    Why might my company need Collaboration Lab?

    If you’re a project driven company you need your people to collaborate effectively to deliver the right results for your customers. Unfortunately, if your people are from different parts of the business, are based in different locations, either nationally or globally, or are from outside the business, such as partners, suppliers, contractors and, of course, customers, collaboration is made very much more difficult. C-Lab gives you a quick and powerful way to get your people collaborating effectively in all situations.

    What outcomes can I expect?

    All companies can expect more of their people to contribute and collaborate more effectively. The results of this obviously vary but our clients report happier customers, fewer mistakes, improved employee motivation, reduced escalations (where senior managers are dragged in to sort out problems), reduced costs, increased revenue (one client reports £1m contract win that he puts down to what he learned on his C-Lab programme). Take a look at our C-Lab outcomes above and also our success stories for more on the difference we make.

    Alternatively, we offer a free diagnostic session to help you scope an agenda for you in your particular work situation.

    What are your payment terms?

    Upfront or staged payments as you prefer.

    How much of my time will the programme take?

    The Master Class is two days, followed by 3 X 1 hour one-to-one coaching calls and 3 X 1 hour group coaching calls over the next 4 months.

    However, the guts of the C-Lab programme involves on the job activities that individual champions will undertake using the tools they’ve learned on the workshop. The thing to remember though is that the activities are your normal day to day activities, with a slight change to how you do them, meaning they may take a little longer at first but will speed things up as you get more practised.

    What are the entry requirements?

    If you want you and the people you work with or manage to collaborate more effectively, you are half way there. Other than that, no specific knowledge is necessary but leaders and key players who leverage value from C-Lab often demonstrate:

    • An understanding of company strategy
    • The ability to influence others
    • An understanding of the importance of improving collaboration internally and with partners and customers
    • Openness to new ways of working and want to learn new tools that will enhance performance in the field
    • Willingness to try out new approaches in the field and hone their approach over time
    • Ability to manage ambiguity, recognising there is no A to Z roadmap for fostering change.

    How is this different to other learning approaches?

    Other learning approaches give you lots of information and leave you to apply what you’ve learned back in the work place, which is difficult and sometimes impossible in the face of day to day pressures. This means that, although participants often say they got a lot out of a course, programme or academic study, the net result is no change in the workplace.

    C-Lab is different. It gives you new information up front and plenty of time to practice using it during the Master Class. The real difference C-Lab makes, though, is with the one-to-one and group coaching and ongoing planning and reporting of collaboration actions on the job. All of which enables champions to get used to using the tools you’ve learned and see the difference it makes as you go.

    Traditional approaches, therefore, tend to make life more complicated for participants, whereas C-Lab makes life easier.

    How does it work?

    It is widely accepted that to do anything you need ability, motivation and opportunity. Most development activities focus on giving people the ability and motivation and assume opportunity will be given by the organisation.

    With C-Lab it’s different. We believe that most people learn the basic ability to collaborate at the same time they learn to walk and talk, and are naturally motivated to do so because human beings are social, collaborative animals. In any case, your organisation undoubtedly puts a lot of time, energy and money into recruiting very able and highly motivated people. Often, what’s missing, therefore, is the opportunity to use the skill. So C-Lab focuses on enabling people to identify opportunities to collaborate more effectively and supports them in taking advantage of those opportunities, reviewing how they got on and planning for the next time.

    How do I know it will work?

    It's difficult to know isn't it. That's why we offer a free diagnostic session where you identify the challenges you face and the difference Collaboration Lab can make for you.

    Take a look at our success stories to see how C-Lab has worked for our clients.

    Also, think about how your people collaborate. Is it 100% of your people contributing, 100% of the time, and so maximising the benefits of collaboration? Or is it, say, 20-30% of your people, your top performers, doing most of the talking, solving most of the problems and making most of the decisions, with everybody else not really chipping in with much? This approach gets things done but leaves a lot (up to 70-80%) of potential experience, knowledge and ingenuity under utilised.

    If you think your organisation is more like the latter of these two, C-Lab will work. It will get more of your people contributing, communicating, solving problems, making decisions, taking responsibility, delivering great service to your customers and reducing costs and increasing revenue and margin.

    We offer a free diagnostic session to help you scope out your collaboration challenges and how to overcome them for your particular work situation.

    Isn’t this just another course that won’t make any real difference?

    No. Take a look at our success stories to see the difference it has made for our clients. Motivated employees – a senior consultant felt he was able to contribute without fighting for air time for the first time in thirty years. Reduced costs – escalations reduced from 3 or 4 a month to zero, saving senior manager time that could be devoted to higher value activity. Increased revenue – an unhappy customer who was about to pull the plug on the relationship turned into a delighted advocate, who purchased an additional £1m of service per year.

    Why does it take so long (4 months) to complete the programme?

    C-Lab isn’t a short course, where you learn lots of stuff that makes your working life more complicated. It's a medium term programme, where the focus is on supporting people in putting into practice the key tools they’ve learned, meaning they get results during the programme and can see the difference C-Lab is making for them and their organisation.

    When will I see results?

    Almost immediately! As soon as a C-Lab participant tries out what they’ve learned, you will see the difference it makes. And we record results and, where possible, measure the wider impact, whether that is better motivated employees, happier customers, reduced costs, increased revenue, whatever.

    Who is involved in the programme?

    That depends on the needs of your company. Typically, a C-Lab programme will involve a sponsor, a programme manager and 6-8 champions. In addition, a C-Lab programme can also involve a number of partners who learn the C-Lab tools and approach but do not receive coaching.

    Shouldn’t we be focusing on talented individuals, rather than getting everybody contributing?

    The chances are you already do focus on developing talented individuals. And with C-Lab we do work with key players in your organisation, with the focus on maximising the contribution of everyone. In this way, you may find that you have more high potentials than you thought, meaning you can develop a bigger pool of talented individuals.

    How do you build and maintain momentum over the four months?

    We work closely with the C-Lab programme manager, who is a key player in your company, and also with a sponsor in your company. This keeps the programme on track and moving forward.

    In addition, we have regular one-to-one and group coaching calls, as well as using an online planning and feedback tool, all of which keeps participants engaged and drives the programme forward to success.

    What results can I expect?

    C-Lab will get more of your people contributing, communicating, solving problems, making decisions, taking responsibility, delivering great service to your customers and reducing costs and increasing revenue and margin. Take a look at the Collaboration Lab outcomes above and our success stories for more on the results you can expect

    Alternatively, we offer a free diagnostic session to help you scope out what those results are for you in your particular work situation.

    Will this work with other learning initiatives we have going on?

    C-Lab is best practice for collaboration and putting it into action in the workplace. We believe, therefore, that it will work alongside and will probably enhance any other learning or organisation change initiatives.

    Is there any pre-course work?

    No, not if you don’t want it. For those who like a bit more preparation there’s some pre-course reading. Either way works very well.

    How do you measure results?

    One of the unique features of C-Lab is that participants identify opportunities to use the tools they’ve learned and report back online how they got on, meaning there is a an immediate measurement of results. In addition, we go into these results in more detail during the one-to-one and group coaching sessions. Finally, we review the overall impact at the end of the programme with the programme manager, against success measures agreed at the start of the programme

    Will it work with people who aren’t interested?

    If someone is genuinely not interested in participating in C-Lab, it will be difficult for it to have much of a positive impact for them. However, they can still benefit from the participation of those around them and may well develop an interest and become a firm advocate longer term. The thing about collaboration is that, when a sufficient number of your people start collaborating more effectively, it’s easier to notice those who don’t and you can respond in the appropriate way.

    Will participants be able to use what they learn after the programme?

    Yes, absolutely. C-Lab is all about getting people to use what they learn until it becomes habit, meaning it will be easier for them to continue using what they’ve learn than it will be to stop using it. With C-Lab, participants learn how to use the tools in all situations inside and outside of work, for the benefit of themselves and those around them.

    How does the programme make so much difference?

    Learning is about repetition of doing, reflecting on what you’ve done, reviewing how it went and planning what you’ll do next time. With traditional approaches to learning, participants get limited opportunities to go through this learning cycle even once, which means they never truly learn or develop new habitual behaviours.

    With C-Lab, participants get numerous opportunities to go through the learning cycle and develop behaviours that stick, get great results and continue to get great results after programme close.

    How will participants be able to use what they learn in practice?

    From one-to-one encounters to team meetings to virtual participation in global projects, C-Lab participants will use what they’ve learned on a daily basis. In fact, they will find it difficult, if not impossible, to revert to old ways of doing things. As your organisation develops a more collaborative culture, newcomers will quickly slot in with your way of doing things and will collaborate more effectively.

    What do participants need to bring with them for the agile collaboration workshop?

    Just an open mind and a willingness to try out some new ways of working together.

    Will the coaches/trainers be the same people?

    Usually, yes, the trainer(s) on the Master Class will be the same as the coach(es) who do the on the job stuff. This will be something you decide at the start of the programme planning phase.

    What qualifies you to deliver this programme?

    At Accelerated Success we have been working with leaders in ICT companies since 2003 and have built a wealth of knowledge and experience in helping them succeed, whether via our Executive Programme, our Leading from the Middle programme or Collaboration Lab.

    Our consultants have performed a number of leadership roles in large corporates and have a variety of learning and coaching qualifications. Take a look at our about us page to find out more.

    Can people on the programme get support when they need it?

    Yes. It is built into the design of all our Accelerated Success programmes that participants can get help via email or telephone when it suits them. If you’re on one of our programmes and you have a problem, just give us a call or bash out a quick message.