More than 70 years ago, the Memphis Belle made history.
The Belle was a Boeing-built B-17. Also known as the “Flying Fortress,” the B-17 played a pivotal role in World War II. And the crew of the Belle was legendary.
In the spring of 1943, the Memphis Belle became the first bomber to complete the unthinkable: 25 missions over occupied areas of Europe . . . without a single casualty. In the days of unmanned drones, that may not see like much of a feat. During World War II, it was downright miraculous.
As HistoryNet reports, “In Belle’s first three months . . . 80 percent of the bomb group she was part of was shot down . . . Eighty percent losses means you have breakfast with 10 men and dinner with only two of them.”
When asked how they pulled off the impossible, Capt. Robert K. Morgan gave a simple answer: teamwork.
Collaboration & Teamwork
Business consultant and coach Jesse Lyn Stoner does a fine job of fleshing out the concept of collaboration. As she explains, teamwork becomes collaboration when the following happens:
- it is not through individual effort
- something new is created
- the glue is a shared vision
That was certainly the case for the Belle.
It takes 10 crew members to fly a B-17. There’s no success without teamwork. Giving flight to a 33,000-lb hunk of metal is certainly “creating something new.” And that only happens if the crew has a strong sense of shared vision—especially when flying into a combat zone.
Granted you’re not going to war. The stakes aren’t as high for your business. However, there’s a powerful lesson about collaboration here. The crew of the Belle demonstrates the raw power of collaboration.
If you can tap into that, your team will operate at a whole new level.
Tapping into Collaboration
As valuable as collaboration is, building a collaborative culture isn’t easy. In fact, 39% of employees surveyed for a worldwide study complained that co-workers don’t collaborate enough. That’s an alarmingly high number.
But creating a greater sense of collaboration is doable. The Harvard Business Review cites three conditions for cultivating collaboration: “a compelling direction, a strong structure and a supportive context.” As a business leader, it’s up to you to provide a compelling direction and a team structure that works for your organization.
When it comes to a supportive context—i.e., the tools needed to make collaboration possible—you may want a little help.
Forbes recently labeled collaborative technology “the future of information technology.” That may sound dramatic, but it’s no overstatement.
Collaborative technology allows your staff to work together more seamlessly than ever before. Email was one of the first collaborative technologies to gain mainstream traction, but there are dozens of additional tools today. Collaborative tech now also includes voice communications, instant messaging, document sharing, project management, remote access and more.
At its heart, collaborative technology is about connecting people. It’s not about adding more options for the sake of having more options. It’s about giving your employees the right tools to push productivity beyond old barriers.
The Right Tools for Your Team
The field of collaborative technology is exploding right now. That gives you a lot of options, but it also creates a challenge.
Collaborative tools aren’t one-size-fits-all. How will you know which collaborative technologies work best for your company? It’s a difficult but critical question.
Your collaboration tools should work well with your existing solutions and workflows. Moreover, they should be scalable and aligned with your growth plans. There’s no easy answer to this complex question—or at least none we can provide in this post.
But there is a way to make the process easier.
KME is Your Collaboration Expert
The team at KME is serious about finding the best tools for your team. That’s true for all your technology solutions, and it’s certainly true when it comes to collaboration tools.
We’ll take time to understand how your employees work together, analyzing the kinds of collaboration that will benefit you the most. Not only will we set up any new tools, but we’ll be there to support you, as well. If you have questions or issues, we’ll be there to help.
Few things have the potential to transform your business like collaboration. Give us a call today to find out how we can help you make the most your collaborative tools.