Reconcile these idioms:
- Many hands make light work.
- Too many cooks spoil the soup.
Too many decision-makers, or not enough? It’s a hard balance to strike, and a question with many potentially correct answers.
Nearly every business requires collaboration with partners, managers, and decision-makers both internal and external. Some team members thrive in collaborative settings. Others require space and distance around their ideas to perform their best. Some people find cubicles restrictive. Others find open floor plan offices challenging.
The truth is, your available resources and team members dictate how many collaborators is optimal. You’ll need to find ways to succeed with what and who you have. That means understanding your team’s personalities and preferences.
Rather than trying to enforce a blanket solution for every project and person, work to put your team in positions to succeed. Allow time for collaborative workers to collaborate and bring independent workers into the process when they can make the biggest impact.
Looking for a general rule? Collaboration is a blade that cuts both ways. Do you need to improve operating speed and efficiency? Removing collaborative touchpoints from processes will galvanize production but may sacrifice quality assurance and push workers into siloes. Vice versa for processes where speed is not the concern, but quality or thoroughness is lacking.