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Posts Tagged ‘collaboration

Freelance, a stronger collaborative work relationship?

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Team ConceptIn many areas of business activities, companies are contracting freelancer’s services. In a fast changing environment, where punctual and specific competences are needed for specific projects, freelance contractors represent a more appropriate solution. One of the differences with an employee is the nature of relationship between the company and the contractor. The employer-employee relationship is a subordination relationship, while the relationship between a company, here the customer, and the contractor is a collaboration relationship.

When you ask to freelancer what they appreciate in this way to work, they often mention the fact that their work is much more appreciated and that the positive feedback of the customer has much more value than the feedback of an employer. Why? The appreciation of an employer can be motivated by some political games. Some bad managers, lacking of leadership, appreciates people who are not too ambitious, only doing they work as usual. Some people feel that such positive feedback does not ring as sincere.

A real freelancer minded has no hidden agenda. When he is working on an assignment, the goal is to achieve what the customer defined within the fixed deadlines, and not to have a permanent position in the company. This means that regularly, the freelancer has to look for new opportunities, and he has to show capacities and proven records in order to catch these opportunities. Such situation, as each worker today, implies that he has to be up-to-date in terms of knowledge and competences, to be able to offer innovative solutions and a high level of added-valued services. In other words, he has to learn on an ongoing way.

Organizations are groups of people, having specific and complementary competences, working together on projects. These collaboration relationships imply knowledge sharing. We talk here about collective intelligence.  The complexity of processes, the development of technology makes that we have to learn more, faster, on an ongoing way, and sharing knowledge with colleagues is clearly a win-win process. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon that relationships between employees are conducted by competition spirit, not favoring the sharing of knowledge and collaboration, and particularly within companies facing restructuring times.  As freelancer, you are assigned on a project for a limited period, and your interest is to provide quality, but also to share and acquire knowledge.  You are not in this sphere of competition and your goal is not to have a fix job, but your goal is to prepare the next assignment, the next project. By working with partners, with customers who are aware about the benefits of collective intelligence, you can create a sphere of motivation and stronger collaborations, where each member of the team can acquire tools to face new challenges, to get better opportunities.

Collective intelligence is clearly an advantage in professional relationship.  It is an asset for people within an organization who have to reach a common goal. It is not forbidden to think about the fact that freelancer community is more favoring this concept in his way to work. Collaborative intelligence makes that people are building communities where everybody gets stronger, acquires more knowledge and competences that represent the only career security. Let us think about that knowledge what is not shared has no value. Collaboration is much more interesting than competition. The only healthy competition is the one with ourselves, in order to build more ambitious projects and reach higher goals.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

November 28, 2014 at 07:28

Trust, responsibilities and motivation.

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Trust, responsibilities and motivation, ingredients of teamwork.

In the economical world, where the competitions become harder, the key factor maintaining companies in a leadership position, is the performance level. Performances of companies or organizations are related to the motivation of the personnel. The motivation is generated by different factors.

First, it is important that people have a clear idea about the content of their function, their mission, and have clearly defined objectives, mid and long-term career perspectives. This is a reason why the recruiting process is a key factor contributing to a potential long-term collaboration. Indeed, the content of the function and the targets have to match with the employee expectations. A recent study performed in the Belgian work market shows that people are according more importance to challenges and career evolutions perspectives than to the salary packages.

A second point is the trust given by the management to the employee. When people are trusted, they have the feeling that management believes in them and about their capacity to work autonomously. I remember some years ago, I was working as accountant for an American company. My boss was on holiday, and we had to face a serious trouble with the IT during an upgrade process. A part of the data’s was lost because the backup systems did not work properly. Two weeks of data were lost, and the last accounting monthly closing disappeared. I contacted a controller at the head quarter in the U.S. I explained the situation, and he told me that I would have a better overview of the situation than him, and that if it was necessary, I had to look for temp people in order to come back to a normal situation. Fortunately, an IT company where we sent the hard disks retrieved the data and we were back to the normal. The instruction of the controller was a real challenge for me, but also an evidence that he was convinced that I would be able to manage the situation. This trust evidence was a source of motivation for me. If people believe in you, you believe in yourself and are motivated to face challenges and take responsibilities. But it is obvious that we have to respect the given trust and the merit of trust is a daily exercise.

A third point is to give responsibilities to the people. When you trust on them and when you know that they can work on an autonomous way, then you can delegate tasks and responsibilities, which is a key point in term of management. We are used to say that if somebody is able to perform a task or a process at around 75%, then you have to delegate it. By delegating, you are giving higher responsibilities to the people, and showing that you trust on his capabilities. You offer him also an opportunity to learn and to increase his capacities and competences.

Recognition of the work done is another important factor of motivation. We know that successful project achievement can only be done by a hard contribution from each member involved in the project. Most of the biggest challenges are achieved by hard work provided by the project team. More than a bonus or a salary increase, the recognition and the feedback about the provided work is important to motivate people.

And what about team spirit? People can only give the best of themselves, if they are working within a team where members are moved by team spirit and by the will to reach first the common goal. When people are working together and want to achieve the common goal, it means that everybody can achieve his own goal related to his function and contributing to the common goal success. In such way, people have the feeling to be really part of a team and of a project where their work is recognized.

All these points show that trust can generate a win-win relationship between employees and employers, between partners. Trust can increase the motivation and the will to take responsibilities. It is in fact a contract where each partner have to respect the clauses.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

April 18, 2011 at 22:40

Work, a social development tool

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Work, a social development tool.

As member of the board of directors of a non-profit organization dealing with social insertion projects, we were discussing on a board meeting about the social dimension of the work of people of the association. Some employees hired by the organization as room maid, are helping seniors not only to clean their home, but also to make shopping, to go to the pharmacy. These people are not providing a material help, but also a social assistance, and this establishes a real human relationship. In this relationship, both parties are winning. For the seniors who are often alone, the social worker is a presence, a contact they can talk with. For the social worker, this relationship brings a real human added value to his work. He has the feeling that he is doing much more than a simple work, and the fact that the beneficiaries appreciate his presences, contributes to his dignity. This relationship contributes on a positive way to the social life and environment of each other.

This fact made me think about the social role of work, not only in a non-profit organization, but also in companies. Each of us, we are spending probably more time with our colleagues than with our family. A positive day at work is not only the result of reached targets or goals, but also the harmonious relationship we have with our colleagues. There are two conditions to develop positive relationships between collaborators. The first one is to have compatibles tempers. In the opposite of our private life, we cannot choose our colleagues, we have to work with them. Too different tempers can sometimes be an obstacle to the development of positive relationships. The second important point is the work environment and atmosphere in the company. A positive atmosphere is a company will contribute to the wellness of the employees, and will contribute to the development of positive collaborations. But as most of us know, the environment is not positive all the time, when for instance the company is facing crisis times, times where the stress is increasing. This increase of stress and decreasing of wellness can be balanced by a good people management and communication. Each of us, we need to have the feeling that we are part of a team, that our work is recognized by our colleagues, by our management. If we see closer, the management is a tool of social development within an organization. When you define objectives for your team, when you are giving instructions to each team member, you have to be aware about the social dimension of the organization you want to build. You assign tasks or processes to your collaborators in function of their responsibilities and capabilities. By doing so, you give them the opportunity to show what they are able to do, to get a positive feeling of themselves, but also to have a recognized role in the social organization of the company.

If I underline the social dimension of work, it is not only the fact that we have a specific function in a company, but it is important to share things with colleagues, and not only in the work area. To speak another language is interesting to start a conversation with a colleague coming from another country. We can learn about the customs of his country in business, but also cultural and social area, to talk about respective hobbies, passions. All these conversations contribute to share ideas, knowledge, point of view, which is a mutual enrichment.

By giving importance to the social dimension of work, you are clearly aware that people are different from the machines. You are not only giving then instructions by pushing on a button and by expecting only outputs and results, but you are waiting also for suggestions, debates, alternative solutions and ideas. By giving importance about such feedbacks, you can create a positive feeling to your collaborators, you are showing respect for them, you are giving them the opportunity to work in dignity and contributing to their social life development. You are developing also the social dimension of your company where human capital should not be considered as a cost but as an asset.

Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

August 2, 2010 at 21:51