Transparency and Empowerment Can Help Make Team Collaboration Work

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The culture at Access Intelligence embraces collaboration," said Tish Drake, VP and group publisher, aerospace, for Access, during an excellent session on collaborative marketing at the recent Business Information & Media Summit. (Though for her, the better phrase is "team collaboration.")

Here are 10 ways that Drake and others at Access Intelligence help make this collaboration happen:

1. Have regular brainstorming meetings, with people expected to bring revenue-generating ideas to the table. One publisher there, Drake said, held a contest among the employees. Everyone brought an idea and presented it. Colleagues then voted on the best actionable ideas to bring to market. "Make it fun and interactive," she said.

2. Empower and support your team to take ownership. "If a young person has an idea, have them put together a business plan," Drake said. "Have them own it, know the expenses involved. Find out what lists they have to buy. Get them to understand the process and buy into it."

3. Figure out how you can work with other departments in your company? Don't be a silo. "Foster an environment that teaches the business," Drake said. "Encourage the teams to always be on the lookout for new ideas."

4. Encourage your editorial staff to expand their horizons. "Editorial roles have had to evolve," Drake said. She puts a lot on her editors. They write news, dailies and e-letters, assist on video blogs and webinars, moderate panels. "I feel sorry for them sometimes." One "shy, introverted" editor surprised her by showing up on an event sales floor with a video camera. He wanted to get people engaged. "Once the bug bites and they understand their capabilities," Drake said, you'll see them take on more roles.

5. As much as you can be transparent with the business numbers do it. "People need to understand the challenges," Drake said. "Editorial [and others] should see the big picture and have an understanding of the business side."

6. If some of your staff is virtual, try video conferencing. "[This] has changed our lives," Drake said. "Before, we could barely get together on day-to-day basis. I can't be in my jammies anymore, but it's worth it." They are using Lifesize.

7. Everyone should contribute outside their core competencies. If people are passionate and empowered about what they do, they will come on board pretty quickly.

8. Understand and analyze data. What content is driving traffic? "You have to delve into your analytics," Drake said. They also developed a lead gen program that they sold to a client.

9. Embrace the next generation. "We've hired a lot of young, green sales people and editors." Drake said. "Try to have an editor who really does a good job of mentoring. Millennials want to feel like they're contributing. Learn from them; [they're] like a focus group for us. 'Where are they consuming their content?'"

10. Be purposeful about bringing teams together. Foster an environment of creativity. Try holding some lunch and learns.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…