4 tips for better collaboration with management

The new media landscape is constantly evolving – and it’s changing the way we work. With these emerging platforms, shifting job roles and communication dynamics, agencies and clients realize that, more than ever, they need to be on the same page. Collaboration becomes crucial in order to a move campaign (or product) towards success. Read Central Desktop’s free report for some valuable insights on the current client/agency collaboration landscape.

But what about internal collaboration between management and folks working in the trenches?

Marketers, project managers and operations folks need to ensure collaboration starts within before setting expectations with clients and external partners. Unfortunately, the relationship between project managers and upper management can be tenuous sometimes (to say the least). Internal teams must break out of these self-defeating mindsets and counterproductive habits.

Here are some tips for better collaboration with management teams.

1. Get management involved early

It’s vital that management share their expectations in the early planning stages. Find out what exactly they want, how they envision the process and when they’re setting deadlines. Outline the process/project and get management to help plan. You don’t want to reach the final approval stage and have management completely surprised (in a negative way) and send you back into endless revision loops.

Sure, we know that the approval process will likely involve revisions and iterations until you are “ready to launch.” However, having management weigh in early can help set the tone for where the project is going and what’s expected of the final outcome.

2. Smarter communication

After you scope out the work, it’s important to keep management updated with the progress. These updates can help build trust between internal teams and potentially mitigate any future alarms.

Now here’s the tricky question: how can internal teams better communicate? We can get swamped with a seemingly infinite number of email threads; sometimes the original topic gets lost altogether in all the back-and-forth. And meetings? There were days when I spent most of my time in meetings talking about the work that needed to be done, but not having any time to actually start the work.

Thankfully, collaboration platforms like Central Desktop can make the whole team’s work (files, calendars, project plans, conversations, etc.,) accessible to everyone. It offers an alternative to email, IT-heavy SharePoint implementations and lightweight file-sharing sites.

3. Embrace collaboration technology

This ties in directly with the tip directly above. Today, it’s all about cloud computing, which uses technology to connect people and information in the cloud. Collaboration technology will help break down the silos and the “Us vs. Them” mentality some project managers have toward upper management (and perhaps vice versa).

It’s important to have company decision makers on board with collaboration technology as soon as possible.

Not using cloud computing yet? Inform management about the overall benefits of the technology so your business can stay ahead, agile, informed and connected. If you’re pitching new technology to your CIO and IT team, consider these tips for building your case.

4. Build transparency and trust

Being honest and open with your management team seems simple enough, but one can lose sight of the need for transparency. Working in silos and being secretive with projects can bring disastrous results. If you don’t trust sharing your thoughts, progress and other concerns with management, why would they trust you?

True openness is a multi-direction channel between you and upper management. You can demonstrate trust with your direct reports by giving them more responsibilities, allowing them to make decisions and trusting their opinions. Trust in your direct reports can help management trust you more.

Collaboration is not just a trendy marketing buzzword, but a concrete, actionable and priority for businesses – big and small.

Have more tips for better collaboration with your management team? Share your ideas in the comments below.

Post by Roger Park

Roger Park is a writer and marketing consultant based in Los Angeles. Previously he was the blog editor for the YP corporate blog and a staffer on the Yahoo! search marketing blog. He also served as the news editor for iMediaConnection. His articles have appeared in Huffington Post, Wired, LA Weekly, Los Angeles magazine and various publications.