Effective Collaboration and Team Integration
Many people use the words collaboration and integration interchangeably, but they are not actually the same things, although they are similar. However, both are required, especially today, if you want to create a high-performing team. To collaborate means to work together – sharing information and data. But to integrate means to blend into a whole – to share experience, expertise, and ideas. Collaboration is data-centric whereas integration is knowledge-centric. You can collaborate as a team without ever truly integrating. But it’s unlikely that your team will become fully integrated without first being collaborative.
Collaboration is much akin to cooperation. If the construction manager has created an environment of trust, open communication, and transparency for the team, and they share common values and project goals and objectives, generally, people can easily work together and collaborate. Especially if they have any history working together from previous projects. Team members are likely to help one another by sharing project information, data, budgets, schedules, and other pertinent items needed to coordinate efforts and get the work done.
Integration is quite different from simply working together, sharing information, and being transparent with your data. I like to describe it as thinking together, out loud. It is as much of an art as it is a science. There is a merging of minds that takes place through a dialogue intent upon learning from one another. The team begins to develop their integrative thinking skills, even if they don’t have formal training in the techniques associated with the practice.