Utilizing tools for multiple reasons is not a new concept, and it is no different in this example where tools that were developed to improve efficiencies can be utilized to support your collaboration efforts.  I’ve said this before in previous discussions and this time is no different, the critical point of focus should be in defining your process and objectives prior to any tool selection.  In my most recent discussions I focused on the mis-aligned and mis-defined focus on multi tasking and my belief that there really is no such thing as multi tasking so you must focus on improved efficiency.  Then the focus on improved efficiency lead to tools that I showed would also improve collaboration.  This now leads to my suggestion that improved collaboration, or more accurately increased collaboration will also improve your efficiencies. 

Collaboration across both internal and external partners may be the next ‘frontier’ in improving efficiencies.  This should also be a very prominent benefit that you call out in your justification and value proposition definition for developing and expanding your collaboration partnerships.  This is why I started this discussion on the discovery of multiple uses for tools; in fact you may also view this as a positive aspect of the adage - when the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail.  In this example however you are not solving a problem, you are discovering additional uses of your current tools set.  I want to reiterate though that it is important to focus on the process and if one of your tools can support the process and not the reverse. 

Another equally important point I want to discuss is the importance of maintaining currency in the tool features and capabilities.  You must try not to be complacent in using the features of the tool when these features and capabilities are continuously upgraded and improved.  As an example, Google Docs regularly releases new features and what they call Add-ons.  One recent Add-on is a workflow document review, edit and approval function.  Maintaining curiosity and periodically investigating new features helped me to discover and incorporate this new functionality in my own collaboration activities. 

I’ve diverted a little from the topic at hand with the above examples however I think it was important to provide those examples as a means of demonstrating the subject.  The very tools that you incorporate to improve your personal efficiencies can also be utilized to support and enhance your collaboration capabilities.   Your framework to access and utilize tools across platforms can just as easily be utilized to support your collaboration capabilities across internal and external organizations.  This framework will also improve the efficiencies of your collaboration capabilities and as a result will improve the efficiencies of all of the participating partners.


And now for the audience participation portion of the show…

What kind of tricks do you practice when you are multi-tasking?  How does technology impact your ability to mutli-task?  How does the blurring of the professional and personal aspects impact your life?