On Nov. 18, CAB Executive Vice President Melanie Morcelle shared her expert insights on “Effective Collaboration Skills for Credit Management.”
The webinar was part of Credit Soft Skillcon 2021, presented by Highako University.
Below are highlights of Ms. Morcelle’s presentation.
To watch a video recording of this webinar, Click Here.
The most effective work teams solve problems and make decisions as a group by building consensus. A consensus decision is one in which every opinion counts. It is not the same as a unanimous decision, and it is not a majority vote.
Building consensus in a team means reaching a decision that is acceptable enough for all team members to support, with no member opposing it.
8 Benefits of Consensus Decision-Making
- It encourages communication between team members.
- It helps build stronger teams by creating transparency among staff members.
- It also promotes employee engagement by empowering them to be part of a solution.
- Consensus decision-making enables better and more thorough decisions.
- Managers demonstrate that they trust their staff to propose ideas that have a widespread impact on the organization.
- Creativity is enhanced whenever employees with different backgrounds are included
- When you build consensus with your team, you also reveal your own blind spots.
- By making every decision by yourself, you’re missing out on important cultural or technical information.
4-Step Process to Implement
- Assemble your team. Include a broad array of experience, tenure and cultural diversity.
- Identify a common goal. Make sure your team understands the purpose of the proposed collaboration.
- Gauge employee expectations. Encourage them to be honest, open-minded and flexible.
- Appoint a facilitator to advance the process.
Techniques for Building Consensus
Let’s look at three proven techniques for collaboration and consensus building: Brainstorming, multi-voting and nominal group technique.
- The facilitator defines the problem or topic.
- Each team member suggests ideas. (No idea is criticized or evaluated.)
- The ideas are written on a board or flip chart.
- Finally, the group goes back and refines the list.
Each person writes down three ideas that relate to the topic. Then they pass their ideas to the person on their right, who will then build off of the ideas. After another few minutes, everyone passes the piece of paper again, until it makes its way around the group. Once everyone’s ideas have been viewed by each team member, the group discusses them and decides which ones are best to pursue.
Each team member writes down as many ideas as possible within a set amount of time.
Every team member contributes one idea to the brainstorm. Each person must participate once before anyone can contribute a second idea. No one may say, “My idea was already mentioned.” Instead, the facilitator comes back to that person later.
In mind mapping, the team starts with one idea and then draws lines connecting related ideas to the first one.
Change of Scenery
The brainstorming session is moved to a different location (such as an outside casual lunch place) to help the flow of new ideas.
Multi-voting reduces a list of brainstorming ideas down to a manageable few.
- Each team member is allowed a certain number votes for the ideas listed.
- Members cast their votes for the ideas they believe are best, but are only allowed one vote per idea.
- Ideas receiving votes from at least half of the team are circled.
- Then the process repeats and continues until the list is reduced to three to five ideas.
Nominal Group Technique
Nominal group technique (NGT) is a more structured approach to collaboration.
- The group discusses and clarifies the ideas generated by brainstorming and the facilitator assigns each idea with a letter.
- Team members use small cards to rank the ideas, with “1” being the least favorite or least important.
- The facilitator gathers the cards and tallies the rankings. The idea with the highest point total is the one of most importance to the whole team.
- The facilitator then rewrites the list of ideas in the order of their importance according to the team tally.
The ability to resolve issues that impact more than one department or team provides your organization with a competitive edge. But it also benefits the individuals involved. When team members from different areas of a company are brought together, collaboration and innovative solutions are the result.
When Assembling a Cross-Functional Team:
- Aim for a diverse mix of experience, ability, seniority, gender, ethnicity and age.
- Be sure to include some of your organization’s “influencers.”
- Include subject-matter experts.
- Include staff members who can help implement your goal.
When used collaboratively, benchmarking can create a spirit of friendly competition within an organization, while identifying best-in-class practices.
Internal benchmarking compares the processes and performance of various teams or individuals. Comparing performance metrics within a company can help you identify performance gaps, prioritize action items, and determine methods of improvement.
External benchmarking compares your company’s practices and performance with that of your competitors. It requires a standard means of data gathering (such as process mapping, workflow charts, etc.), as well as standard performance measures (KPIs or other metrics).
External collaborative benchmarking promotes discussion among front-line professionals. It requires the ability to recognize that others are better at something than they are, and a willingness to learn how they do it.
- Research shows that most workplace failures are due to a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication.
- Consensus-driven decision-making, cross-functional teams and collaborative benchmarking for best practices are all effective tools for building stronger, more cohesive work teams.
- Seamless collaboration isn’t only key to increasing productivity. It’s critical to employee happiness.
- Today’s smart leaders recognize collaboration as a winning formula for success.