It takes more than software and an internet connection to succeed in the workplace of the future. Remote and mixed-mode work environments are not going away, and as the definition of what it means to be “at” work continues to shift and change, we need a new skill level to embrace the future.

But what processes, principles, and practices can we implement to collaborate effectively in a digital world

“It’s not about the tool, it’s about how you use the tools and knowing which tool to use for the job.”
– Deb Reuben

On January 27, 2022, Jake Cutler, Founder of Fintech Platforms and, James Robertson of DLL Group, and Andrew Cotter of Somerset Capital Group, led the final TomorrowZone® winter series UnConference discussion:

Lean In & Level Up: Digital Collaboration Mastery

As industry peers, we shared challenges and lessons learned while overcoming digital adoption, through team, customer or team collaborations. This initial discussion revealed four keys to digital collaboration mastery:

  1. Prepping everyone on tools to be used in a meeting can make it more effective.
  2. Don’t just repurpose offline techniques for online tools, reimagine the experience.
  3. Even in digital collaboration, you need to practice continuous purposeful innovation.
  4. Encourage your team to try, experiment, play… with the rapidly advancing digital landscape, we should also be asking, “What’s possible now?”

James and Naomi, innovators at DLL discussed their journey about becoming purposeful, purposefully innovative, and their relationship with the tools they had along the way.

“We really started to lean in to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. We polished our offerings. We kept exploring. We adopted new technologies. And we continue to experiment and play with what’s possible, given this new and everchanging environment.”
– James Robertson

Andrew Cotter, CIO at Somerset Capital, shared his story, and how even though the focus has become digital in the last few years, collaboration is something he’s practiced in some form or another, for many.

“If you don’t have a comfort level internally to use a tool, you’re certainly not going to use it externally, so we created a safe space to try something new and to learn it to get comfortable with it.”
– Andrew Cotter

Jake Cutler, CEO and Founder, spoke about his company, Amplify, and the team they are creating to bring innovation into the equipment finance space, specifically an ecosystem for vendors to make it easier to quote.

“You have to meet your customers and employees where they are. It’s great to have amazing innovative tools, but the biggest part of getting people to actually use the tools and engage with your company and process is having that safety to feel like they can make mistakes.”
– Jake Cutler

Key takeaways from the Digital Collaboration Mastery discussion:

  • Meet people where they’re at
  • Create a safe space
  • Making time within a session to help people learn
  • Be thoughtful about the outcomes you want to create
  • Create looms to walk people through step by step
  • It’s ok to share and be vulnerable
  • Innovation isn’t only about technology, it’s helping humans connect with each other

By the end of the session, the team was able to select practices and techniques to adopt immediately and improve their own experiences within their digital collaborations and virtual teams.

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