Play Nice in the Corporate Sandbox
By Shane Caniglia
Technology teams must communicate and work closely with all business departments in order to compete and be successful. Silos, or completely independent business units, are a thing of the past.
After years of working separately, complaining about one another and often showing disrespect for each other’s deadlines and processes, it’s not easy to get everyone to play nice in one big sandbox. But it can be done, and it can create a happier, stronger and more profitable work environment for everyone.
If you’re the type of employee who goes to work, focuses on a specific technology project, doesn’t communicate with co-workers, collects a paycheck and goes home, it’s time for a wake-up call: The reason you have your job is to help solve problems and make things more productive for the overall business.
Technology is a tool; how we use it is the key. You can’t accomplish company goals on your own. Everyone in your company is connected, and each “I” is an important part of the overall “We.”
It’s essential to understand your role in the company and be accountable and responsible for your area of expertise. It’s also important to understand your co-workers’ roles, so be patient, ask questions, listen and learn.
The more you understand the overall business and its needs, the more valuable you’ll become—and you’ll learn invaluable entrepreneurial skills. These skills will separate you from your peers and your company from the competition. It’s a group effort, and individuals must be willing to expand beyond their current skill set, or there is no team.
Focus on team building.
To be a great company, you must put effort into making other people great. But how do you do that when you haven’t worked together in the past?
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting the team-building process:
- Get focused and be mentally “present” at meetings.
· Do not allow outside vendors to infiltrate and drain your company of morale or money.
· Develop a trust and instill a philosophy over your need to control.
· Set an example for yourself and others to follow.
· Check your ego at the door.
· Don’t rely on just emails or text messages for answers. Talk to people.
· Act like adults.
These may sound like simple ideas, but they work. And remember that team building doesn’t happen overnight: It takes time to change behaviors and create productive teams that can work together, but you’ve got to start somewhere.
Communication is key.
If you just want to stay in the server room and not interact with other departments, you probably won’t have your job for long—and good luck finding a new position with that mindset. Anyone can hire tech pros with specific skills, but that’s not what is in demand in today’s business world. Instead, think about how “we” can make this happen?
Remember, your priority is to solve business problems and to prepare the company for the next three to five years. To do that, you need to think beyond your technical mind and learn what others need—and why they need it.
Educate yourself on what’s going on and try to look at things from different perspectives. Remember, you are one of many people who must work together for the greater good.
By taking the time and effort to improve your communication skills, you’ll learn to share ideas and become a strong team player. And when all business units can work together for the overall good of the company, you’ll enjoy both “I” and “we” success moments. More important, you’ll wonder why you stuck your head in the sand for so long instead of playing nice in the sandbox with everyone else.
Shane Caniglia is the director of technology at The Rich Dad Co., a financial education company.