In a prior post we covered the topic of Managing Interpersonal Relationships and Interactions as a key factor in being a competent collaborator.
If you recall, the inspiration for this series of posts results from a video of Thomas Friedman (best selling author and 3-time Pulitzer prize winner) called: The World is Flat. In this video he indicates that since we all are so very-well connected (globally) a key factor to our “individual” success depends upon how well we learn to collaborate.
While the prior post covered human interaction skills (which can be applied in-person or virtually) we now need to cover the “technical” side (the tools of collaboration). That is, in order to be a competent collaborator we must be effective at using the readily available tools for doing so, including:
- Your Computer (being completely comfortable with basic navigation)
- MS Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint – at a minimum)
- Email – Covered in a prior post (An Email Worth $200?!?)
- Internet Browser
- File Systems and Sharing
- Teleconferencing, Video and Online Meetings
If you are not proficient at using these tools you are falling behind faster than you can imagine.
I’ll now expand on a couple of items which have not previously been covered…
File Systems and Sharing
Do you frequently exclaim: “I can’t find that file you sent me!“?
To that, I’d ask: “How often do you lose your wallet?”
Please, wake up, this is important stuff 🙂
The basic navigation of the computer includes KNOWING the file system so that as you exchange files with others (via email) you know EXACTLY where they are on your computer and which version is the latest.
A computer is not a black hole: it doesn’t arbitrarily misplace or delete files. Only YOU do that. As such, learning and managing your computer’s file system is VERY important!
In addition, you must be comfortable with the tools for sharing files so that they are:
- Stored in a central location (instead of, and/or as a backup to, your computer)
- Sync’d with your computer
- Editable or viewable by those you authorize
Those working in a corporate environment may have access to tools such as: Sharepoint or MS Office365 / OneDrive. Other great options which I use are Google Drive and DropBox. If you haven’t tried these you are encouraged to do so – for free!
Teleconferencing, Video and Online Meetings
Finally, when you need to hold interactive dialog with a number of (globally) dispersed individuals you need to be self-sufficient at using the following:
- Conference Bridge
- Video Conference Equipment
- Online Meeting Applications (GoTo Meeting, Skype, Webex, etc.)
Some may feel this is pretty basic stuff. I agree 1000%, but…I cannot tell you how many times I’ve observed, in a corporate environment, individuals fumbling with each of these tools. In some cases it seems as if it is the first time they’ve used them. Other times they just don’t seem to get it, after repeated use, and must rely on their admin.
Since the World Is Flat (we are so wired and connected) these tools are absolutely crucial to propel you forward as a competent collaborator!
Don’t let them become stumbling blocks. You WILL be left behind…
In closing…If you feel that you are not competent at using any of the tools of collaboration, have no fear. It is easy enough to obtain training from your company or to invest in training on your own dime, at a community college, high school or even online (which is often FREE)…
Remember: Only YOU can ensure YOUR success, by the investments you make — in yourself!
Become a Competent Collaborator! Not doing so is a DECISION which may prove perilous to your career…