EP 020

Level Up Internal Collaboration Within Your Workplace

Internal collaboration within the workplace, an easy concept! Right? Turns out, it's not that simple. Many factors go into effective, worthwhile collaboration within an organization and between employees. Between mindset, creating safe collaboration spaces, and updating the technology you collaborate in, it can become overwhelming.

That's why Mitch, Livvy, Matt, and Mike are unpacking what internal collaboration looks like within a modern workplace and how your organization can improve your your processes today! Enjoy episode 20 of the Make Others Successful podcast and let us know what you think.

Episode Links
Hosted By
Mitch Herrema
Livvy Feldman
Matt Dressel
Mike Bodell
Produced By
Benjamin Eizenga
Edited By
Eric Veeneman
Music By
Eric Veeneman


Mitch (00:06):

Hey, welcome back to Make Others Successful, a podcast where we aim to make you successful in your workplace so you can in turn, make others successful and then make others successful. And on and on it goes. This episode's a little bit different than our normal structure, and that's for good reason. We're actually developing a product called the Via to help organizations get on a path to a better workplace. And that requires getting thoughts out of heads and onto paper. So this is actually a sort of glimpse behind the scenes to that process and shows how we've been developing that product, which we're excited to share more about in the future. Specifically in this episode, we're focused on the topic of internal collaboration. How do your people work with each other? Internally? We'll talk about our mindset and approach to this topic, some principles we think you should adopt, and even some tactical how-tos. So please enjoy the conversation between Matt Dressel, Mike Podell, li Feldman, and myself.

Livvy (01:04):

Let's start with mindset of internal collaboration and what that entails, like beginning, overarching, the complete umbrella of it

Matt Dressel  (01:14):

In relation to collaboration. A lot of what people need to be thinking about is being collaborative. Like you would be on a whiteboard in the, in the good old days when you had paper or when you had, you know, disconnected services. The only time you could do that would be when you were in person. So when you actually showed up to a meeting and you actually put sticky notes up and did whiteboards and all of this fancy stuff. But that's not the W way anymore, right? number one, if you have people who are remote all the time, you are not going to have the ability to do that cuz they physically can't be in the same space. but then even if you are in the same space honestly, whiteboards have their limitations, right? you can't necessarily do the same things that you can do in more digital formats.


And so a lot of it has to do with leveraging the tools that you have and that are available to you to work collaborative collaboratively. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> on documents or any other workspace. So what we're talking about here is like for example, don't be sending emails with documents in them. You know, instead send a link to where you have a document stored mm-hmm. <affirmative> and probably even before that, don't store your documents on your local file system or in your shared drive. Right. Store it somewhere in a, ideally a cloud service that everybody on your team can access. Everybody in your organization can access and allow people to edit that document directly.

Livvy (02:49):

You said, you know, don't send emails with documents in it, and I know that's common sense for you. Yep. But can you dive into it just a little bit for people who like, that's all they know.

Matt Dressel  (02:58):

Yeah. I mean, anybody who's doing that on a regular basis shouldn't understand the concept of, I sent you a document, you edit it, you sent it back to me while you were editing it. Some other one, some other person edited it and then sent me a new copy of that. And now I have to figure out what you both changed and merge it into one document. Yeah. That's bad. Number one. Number two, that's, and that's only one scenario. Here's another scenario. I sent you the document, you sent it to somebody else. I modified the document, sent you the update of the document. You never sent it to the third person. The third person's working on a version of the document that's no longer valid anymore. Right? Right. All of these, and there's hundreds of more scenarios that cause problems. They're, they're solved by saying, there is one document, this is where we work on this document, this is where you can read it, this is where you can edit it.


This is the single source of truth for this document. Now, some people might say, well, I wanna be able to edit a document before everybody in the organization can see my changes. Great. At most cases create two versions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, that's worst case in almost all scenarios. You can implement functionality today where you have a published a version and a edited version. And so the edited version isn't available to everybody who can just read. It's only available to the people who can edit. And so you and your other collaborators can be working on a new version of this document. You can hit publish and you can publish the document. Not everybody in the organization can see this new version of the document. Yeah. So it can be really convenient to send, send documents and emails, but you should try to avoid it as much as you can, especially internally. Externally is a little bit of a different story. We're gonna, that, you know, that's another area that we can talk about in the future mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but internally. So if I'm sending it to just the other people in my company, in my organization, there shouldn't be any real reason to send email in that way. You should always be doing something else. So I was

Mike (04:44):

Gonna, I was gonna say the one thing that you mentioned that I really liked that I wanted to highlight was the single source of truth. because that's one of the principles that we're gonna talk about in a number of other of the topic areas for this new product.

Matt Dressel  (04:58):

Yep. Yeah.

Livvy (04:59):

So with having effective internal collaboration, how do you make sure that it's working for your employees and making sure that everyone's kind of on board with that, especially if they're coming from a place of multiple documents, multiple sources of truth, and kind of starting that new wave.

Mitch (05:19):

What if people are particular and they, they are the gatekeeper of the document and they have the one source of truth? How do you, how do you combat that too?

Matt Dressel  (05:31):

Yeah. I mean, so we're getting, when you talk about the three different sections, the first section is about our, our, the philosophy of it and the principles. We've talked a little bit about the principles a little bit. What you're really talking about is like some of the methodology or the way that you go about it, the concept that documents are mine to own is a bad concept. documents are owned by the business and they're owned by a role in the business at worst. Right. The engineering team owns the design documents. The HR team owns, you know, employee contracts. Right? A person does not. Right? And the reason that's really important is, another thing that has prevalent in this new way of this technology is the concept of personalized data storage. So instead of talking about, I store it on my local machine, now it's, I store it in my OneDrive, I store it, my gdrive, my Google drive, my, you know, whatever that is.


And it's very personal. It's my Google Drive, right? It's not, it's not my team's Google Drive. It's not the company's Google, it's my Google Drive. Right? and the reason that's really dis there's an important distinction there, is that if you do it that way, if you're storing it, even if you're sending a link, so let's say that I am somebody who sends, I send links all the time. That's all I do is send links to documents, but all the documents are stored in my OneDrive or in my Google Drive, right? That's still a problem. Right? So to your point, it's a mindset shift. It's a shift in the way you think about these things from being, I own them, I'm the gatekeeper to my team owns them, my role owns them. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and this is where my role has its storage, right?


My storage is located in the engineering portal. Or if you're in a design team in particular, maybe the design teams portal or their working space, right? You need to get, it's a mindset shift to start with. and the way to get there is to start, start with someone. Start with one person, right? When somebody sends an email and they say, Hey, I like, I want you to edit this document, and they attached it, put it to where it should go, send an email back with, here's the link. Just so everybody knows you don't, don't edit it in the document. Simple. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I'm not calling anybody out. I'm not telling 'em they did a bad job, just changing it. Like, we're gonna do this differently. This is gonna happen differently. Right? It, it doesn't have to be aggressive. It doesn't have to be absolute.


people make mistakes and that's okay. But every chance you can get, push people in a different direction. I have in many cases had people send an email about something with a document attached switch that put the document in team somewhere, start a channel thread where I start talking about it in that other location. Right? Because another thing that we haven't talked about yet, don't send email like internally. Why are you emailing, right? There can be reasons when you need something very formal. I'm communicating with somebody outside of my group. I'm not, you know, that I may not know their comfort level with me or not know me. I need to include other people. I don't want to interrupt them in a meeting. Like, there's lots of reasons to maybe do that. But for most of your collaboration needs, Hey, did you get my latest update on this thing?


Use something that's more immediate. Use chat, use channels. Use some other mechanism to have this conversation than email. Email is a really, really bad way to have communication that's on. When you're collaborating on something, it's okay. Not good. Okay. For communication, I need to tell you something. You're gonna receive it. Maybe you'll tell me you got it. And that's it. If we're gonna have a huge conversation about it, email's absolutely horrible. How many people have started an email, got halfway through it, and somebody responded to the email and changed the game on what you were just writing, and you just spent a half an hour writing your email and now it's just gone. Me. Yeah. Me too. <laugh>, right? Like, that doesn't happen. If I'm chatting and I say, Hey, I'm looking at this, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, that, then you get a conversation and you, so the other person says, Hey, I'm looking at this too. Wanna jump on a quick meeting? Cool, let's get on a meeting. Have a conversation. Right?

Mitch (09:29):

Even something as simple as so and so is typing, like some of the collaboration tools you can see when someone is interacting with it as opposed to something that's,

Matt Dressel  (09:37):

Or that somebody's there disconnected. If you're editing a Word document online, you can see, oh, somebody else is editing at the same time. Yeah. Hey, let's, like, let's chat about this. Like, you're in this too. What are your thoughts about this? Right? So, you know, when you think about the, the principles that we would espouse, that's what they are. A lot of it has to do with email. Like, don't email documents, don't email at all. share, put your documents in a shared location so that you can, you know, share them in emails or in other places. So you have a, and then finally, so you have a single source of source of truth. Like you really want one place that people can go to find these documents as best you can. You, it's not, it's not gonna always happen. It's not gonna be perfect. Nothing is perfect. It's okay that it's not perfect, but the intent, the process, the standard should be, this is where these things go. And this is where these things live.

Livvy (10:22):

Kind of sounds like with like the overarching mindset to kind of approach internal collaboration with is like lifting the veil. Like no, nothing is incredibly, like with email, you don't know who's on the other end right away. You don't know who is watching or you know, you, it's not as transparent basically. Whereas when you share documents and you use more casual messaging, you have a little bit more of a connection.

Matt Dressel  (10:48):

So the way I would describe it is the, in the last five years, I would maybe even go as far as 10 years, the technology has changed to the point where you don't need to. It used to be that you know, in-person face-to-face, you had traveling, salesmen traveling. I would travel for a business meeting, everything's gotta be in person. Yeah. Then it got into, well, we can do conference calls or we can do direct phone calls. Okay, I will do a phone call, but still the best is in person. Right? You know, now we're in a situation where when you think about it, old school, you also had letters you could physically send a physical letter through, like inter-office mail or through the US Postal Service, right? and you use those things for different purposes, right? But the technology wasn't there at that point to be able to do collaboration and direct communication, right?


Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, so person to person communication in a way that was very valuable. Right? the best you could do back in the day was something similar to like group text which has its own problem, right? and you can still do that. That's, we would consider that to be group chats or direct messages. and those also aren't super great. Like, I wouldn't, that wouldn't be my first modus mo modus operandi, right? I, that wouldn't be the first choice of, of trying to communicate with somebody. But today the technology is so much better. You should just be comfortable with it. You should become comfortable with it. To your point about lifting the veil, like this stuff is there, it's not that different than what you probably have experienced in other forms, but the technology's just way better today than it was before. Right? Yeah. even when you think about Skype for business or back in the day, AOL instant Messenger, or you think about, you know, all of these different, but there was once

Mike (12:30):

Upon a time email was the breakthrough.

Matt Dressel  (12:31):

Yeah. What's that?

Mike (12:32):

Once upon a time email itself was the breakthrough technology. That's fine. Right? And then everybody became accustomed to it for communicating and documenting contracts and Right. Having that stuff. And the world has changed significantly. It's like, what has the iPhone done for the world?

Matt Dressel  (12:46):

Yeah. I mean it's an interesting, the, the collaborate, the, the, the comparison there. Email the conversion from writing letters to emails was pretty simple. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you have a,

Mike (12:57):

It's almost one for one. You've

Matt Dressel  (12:58):

Got a two, you've got a from, right? You've got a, a subject, you've got text, you write your text, you have a, you have a footer with your, you know, signature. Very, very, very much like letters, right. Formal letters. these other forms are very different. Yeah. In the way how they're used in what you do, the formality of it. you know, they're very different in the way they work. And so that's, I think one of the reasons why people are challenged with, with dealing with that. Right. If that's, if you're very used to phone calls, let writing letters or emails, this is a different kind of thing.

Mike (13:32):

Yeah. And you might say that email once upon a time was pretty effective for communication. Right. But not, but it was

Matt Dressel  (13:37):

Way more effective than sending a than

Mike (13:39):

Sending a letter, right? Yeah. Let memo but not as effective maybe for collaboration. And so there's always been a disparity there. And now the tools that we have are much more effective at allowing people to collaborate and communicate. Yeah. This

Matt Dressel  (13:51):

Was, this was what I was getting at is the be so back then email or letters are really bad cuz it takes forever to get back and forth. Yep. So call or go right? Go in person email. Great. It's better. It's a little bit more real time. But, you know, I don't know how many people in including myself who have said, just pick up the phone. Just like you guys are arguing back and forth about random stupid stuff that you, cuz you're, you're talking past each other. Just pick up the phone, talk to the other person. Right. And I'm not saying that that instant messaging or direct messaging fixes all of those problems. People still have challenges with, with being

Mike (14:26):

Tone, emotion,

Matt Dressel  (14:28):

Understand, giving grace to the other person. Yep. And and vice versa, right? Like both on both sides. Because

Mike (14:34):

Re reading the conversation,

Matt Dressel  (14:35):

Reading the conversation and being okay and being okay to ask, like, this makes me uncomfortable. I don't understand what you're saying. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't like explain more or can we transfer this to a different me medium so it's not all gone, but it's way better than email and messaging like our mail and all of that. and it's, you know, and you can't, businesses cannot be run all in person anymore and they cannot be all run via only phone calls. Like, it just can't happen. Like there's there at this point, there's very few businesses that can work that way and be effective just the way it is.

Livvy (15:13):

I kind of want to use the email as our segue into some of the principles about, regarding internal collaboration. So we touched on email and saying it's not a great way to communicate. And we also touched on how emails are stored in individual's email inboxes mm-hmm. <affirmative>, which goes back to the point of it's a very indivi individualized tactic. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that's then it's your own or it's not shared with anyone else. Okay.

Matt Dressel  (15:39):

But if you're wanting to collaborate, choose modes that are a synchron or that are synchronous, not asynchronous. Yeah. That I'm gonna send you something, you're gonna get it, you're gonna see it, you're gonna be able to respond. Like it's back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Not I pitch it over a wall with this big long thing and I'm like, I let it go. Because that's not the point. The no. Like, and then, and that's another piece of this mindset of the, the mindset thing that is, I don't know how to describe, but it's like communication is spend a bunch of time and make it perfect and send it out. And you should never have to change it. You should be perfect. Collaboration by its definition is you and I are gonna throw stuff on the wall and we're gonna talk back and forth and it's gonna be messy and it's gonna be, you know very, very two way mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then it's gonna have an outcome. And that's the difference between the two. Right. And so you need to choose the way that you communicate appropriately for those two different types of activities that those are from

Mike (16:43):

A mi from a mindset standpoint. would it be okay to say that when it comes to collaboration, you should start from a point of view that is a shared space, point of view,

Matt Dressel  (16:56):

Shared space, trusted, safe space, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you're like, there's a lot of people who have problems collaborating because they're afraid somebody's gonna see their typos. Yeah. I throw right? Like a hundred percent and you just caught, you just did, you're just like, Hey Matt, on your thing, I found your typo that you should never do again. Right. Like, the people get really, and, and rightfully so. Rightfully so. I can see why people have that concern, but I, they should start from a mindset of both if they're initiating the collaboration or if they're participating in the collaboration that, so it's

Mike (17:30):

Okay, we can say the space where you're collaborating should be shared and also should be safe. Yes.

Mitch (17:37):

If we could maybe use a metaphor of cubicles versus open office. Mm. Take the open office negativity out of it. Right. Like, I mean there maybe is some correla correlation

Matt Dressel  (17:50):

There. There is correlation. Yeah.

Mitch (17:51):

But the difference between throwing something over the wall of a cubicle or walking down the hall versus just being with someone. So

Matt Dressel  (17:58):

When we get into the larger pros about this stuff Yeah. like the, the exceptions there are like, if we're collaborating on firing half the company, that better be freaking like tight. Right? Like, we, let's get in person, let's go somewhere. Let's have, we are not gonna have this just randomly up popping up on a notification on somebody's screen that somebody can be behind them having, like, it's not gonna be that way. Right? Yeah. There are scenarios where it still makes sense to have that, but they're like this much

Mitch (18:29):

Compared the general channel <laugh>,

Matt Dressel  (18:30):

Everything, everything else. Right? Like, it's not like you prove to me that you need it. Explain to me why you have like, unless you can justify why the, the starting point should be this way that Mike was just out like the shared space, safe space. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, open office, whatever, that should be the norm. And the very small exceptions should be nope. We need to really control this and be managed and Yeah.

Mike (18:57):

The other thing that I, and I don't know how to articulate it yet, but it's very much a cast off all self ownership.

Matt Dressel  (19:06):

Yeah. Which is what I was talking Right. Which, which is why when I started that that's what I was like, that is that piece of it is a, which it goes

Mike (19:13):

Said it goes beyond the shared space cuz the shared space doesn't necessarily imply Yeah. No self ownership, but no self ownership is pretty key. Yep. because it protects the organization from a whole lot of downstream ill effects,

Matt Dressel  (19:27):

But it also protects the individual. Because if you can change your mindset from this isn't about me, this is about my role in this that I'm playing in this particular topic, I, it just is what it is. Like I'm playing my role, you're not attacking me. This is what it, this is what my role is in this group. Like, and that's okay. And you have your role and they might be at odds. Yeah. Per and that's okay.

Mike (19:47):

Personal agendas at the

Matt Dressel  (19:48):

Door. There's, there's no personal agendas. It's just me. Which truthfully, a lot of this stuff is like HR 1 0 1, like how to conflict resolution and, but it's, it's all related. Like it's, it's all like if you are in an organization that can't get from a mindset perspective to that safe space and the shared space and all of that stuff, just go back to writing letters and send it to an office mail. Like, forget it. Yeah. Like, just don't do it.

Livvy (20:13):

Well, I was gonna say too there are a lot of, it's a big jump for people mm-hmm. <affirmative> if everything has been private. And I think it would be hard, again, it's one of those things like, it might be common sense to you, but to others what documents to share and what, and you, you said it's a very small percentage that should technically be just you. But how, how do you kind of start from, if you have everything by yourself, everything is yours. There's not a ton of collaboration. How do you go about from, let's start, but the percentages aren't gonna be the same for people. Yeah.

Mike (20:52):

It's, that's an interesting question. That might be a question for a new business owner. Yeah. Right. Who's starting their a brand new business. They're on their own, they're a sole proprietor, they've figured out they've got a great product and now they need to hire people to help. Right? So what does the process look like to move from, well, geez, I got all this stuff on my phone, or it's all on my laptop. Like how do I integrate the rest of my team?

Matt Dressel  (21:17):

A lot of it has to do with recognition about that. There's a problem. It's like the, the seven stages of grief or whatever, like a recovery, like rec first you need to recognize you have a problem, right? Yeah. if you have on your local laptop a bunch of documents that are all sort, stored somewhere else, you have a problem. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if you, the first thing you do when you go onto a SharePoint site or another site is download the documents. You can edit on your local machine. You have a problem. And when you, once you recognize that, you should think about why, like what's your reason? If your reason is because I got yelled at last week, cuz guys, I was halfway through a draft and somebody got pissed off that I spelled something wrong. You have a bigger problem and you should probably quit your job and goes to work somewhere else. Right. If that's not the problem, you should probably just do it in the shared space, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it doesn't make a lot of sense. People don't, if people have the time to go judge you for your work in progress, what, like, they need to more work

Livvy (22:15):

Maybe. Could you give an example of if a company or an organization or just an individual has never collaborated really on a document, like what maybe a good document. I know this is gonna vary, but I feel like giving an example might be helpful. Like maybe the beginning of a project or an outline or, because things, if things have been private for a while,

Matt Dressel  (22:35):

So a lot of it will depend on what your, what your role in the process is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Right? So if you are an editor, like somebody sends you documents, like they own the docu, they own their, their, their role owns the document, quote unquote. Right? And they, but they need your input. Right. I would have a conversation and be like, Hey, like, cuz you c there's not much you can do. Right. If they own it, it's difficult for you to affect change. It would be a conversation about, Hey, can we do it this other way? It would be really a lot more helpful for me. And I think for you, I know it might be a problem, like, can we try this out? Like I've never done it before. You've never done it before, but let's try this out together. Yeah. Right. Let's figure out how to make this work because we spend so much time sending emails back and forth with documents and then having to merge it. Let's do something different, right?

Mike (23:23):

Yeah. Could we maybe suggest a scenario like a new sale and I need a variety of roles on my team to collaborate to try to make that sale. So I need somebody to estimate, I need somebody to write the content for the proposal. I need somebody to review the content for the proposal. Yeah. I need somebody to review the estimate.

Matt Dressel  (23:44):

So I think I, the challenge is like what Libby's talking about is like, I as an individual have never done any of this before. Right. I think in your case, you're talking about it as a business owner, as a leader, as a, as a somebody that's in charge, I want to start to affect change. We need to do this. I think what Livy may have been getting at was more individual. Like

Mike (24:08):

I'm no, I, I I think I'm asking an individual question as well. Okay. So for example, let's say I'm maybe an account manager Yep. And I've got a potential client and I need my pre-sales engineer and my project manager involved in helping to build an estimate and a proposal for this client. And to date my company has only ever relied on me to put that together. And so what I've done is I've go, gone around to each of their cubicles and asked them questions and taken notes and had them send me an email with a spreadsheet. Right. So what could it look like instead

Matt Dressel  (24:43):

To work

Mike (24:43):

Through that process? Yeah. You're

Matt Dressel  (24:44):

You're the owner of all of that.

Mike (24:46):

I'm the, I'm the, I'm the person who's responsible for delivering the proposal Yep. To the client. Yeah.

Matt Dressel  (24:52):

in which case you're like, you have a lot of power in that regard in regards to what you're doing, in which case it's pretty easy. Like you can use your OneDrive to start with. If you can't figure out how to do a team, like just start storing it. Honestly, most people in a lot of organizations today will automatically have their local documents stored in a cloud service, either Google Drive or OneDrive or something. and so it's really a matter of just stop sending emails with documents in 'EM and start sending emails with links.

Mike (25:21):

So for example, I might share a space in my OneDrive with those individuals and say, Hey, can you upload your or your estimate spreadsheet here?

Matt Dressel  (25:29):

Or, or when you send it an outlook and it says, Hey, these people might not have access, click the button says give 'em access. Right. Like, I mean, really in a lot of the tools that you have today, they automatically sense and they go, oh, wait a minute. They're pointing

Mike (25:42):

It in that

Matt Dressel  (25:43):

Direction. You're sending a document that's in a link that to a file. I'm gonna check the people on your email, in your email. Don't have that. Not all the people have access. What do you wanna do? And you go, oh, I wanna, which that's not the way I would do it. Like the way you're talking about is the ideal way. But to Li's point, we're just trying to start out mm-hmm. <affirmative>, we're not trying to solve the world. We're not trying to eat the elephant. We're trying to just take a small bite, like move forward a little bit. Right. and those would be some of the things I would say. I, on the other end of it, if you're the person that that person is like, you're in this role and I'm the person that you come to, and I'm like, I don't want you coming to my cube all the time.


Ask me a bunch of questions, can we collaborate down, said in a different way? It's a conversation, right? It's a, Hey, I want to try this out. It's maybe even talking to your IT department about, Hey, is there, like, do you guys have any resources that can help with this? Right. Help us do this. Do you have a, do you have a a someone who can teach us about this? Do you have somebody who can walk us through this? It's gonna take some effort. Like, like to your your point about somebody who's never done any of that, it's gonna take some effort, it's gonna take some learning. You're gonna do it wrong. You're gonna lose some stuff, some stuff's gonna happen. But which I know those, that, those, those things probably like scared some people when I just said that. But those documents aren't that important. It's not the end of the world. Yes. It can be painful. but a lot of that comes from the fact that you don't necessarily know what you should do. Not because the technology's bad, but you're gonna go start writing something and somebody else is gonna do something different. And you thought that this happened this way and it really doesn't. And that's okay because yeah. In a month after you've been doing it, it'll be like second nature, it won't be a problem. It'll just work and you'll be fine.

Mitch (27:24):

One maybe small example is when we do our quarterly updates, we meet together as a team. So abstract this into, let's pretend you and two other people are responsible for delivering presentation present. Yep. And so what we do is we say, all right, here's our general outline for the presentation. Mitch, you take this one. Matt, you take this one, Mike, you take this one. And so we each kind of split our ways, work on it individually, all in the same document in the cloud. And then we come back together and review it together, make sure we all well agree and it all makes sense.

Matt Dressel  (27:59):

And, and some of the benefits of that is, quite frankly, I'll get in the middle of something on mine and be like, oh, I wanna make sure that's included in Mitch. And I'll go flip to Mitch's tab and be like, oh yeah, he already got it. Or no, he didn't mm-hmm. <affirmative> let me either put a comment in or maybe put a bullet in and say, Hey Mitch, like I wanna make sure this one gets added mm-hmm. <affirmative>. and I don't have to worry about the fact that you're doing your stuff and I'm doing my stuff and mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I can see what you're doing. You can see what I'm doing. I can pick up the slack if I'm like, I got some extra time. I'll fill in a couple things

Livvy (28:27):

To back to the mindset of that. And I think where a lot of people, because I've come from this, is you kind of have to leave your ego out because if you go in and you're like, Hey Mitch, you for got X, Y, and Z, you know, sometimes the initial reaction is be like, I was getting there, or I was about to put it in mm-hmm. <affirmative> instead of just, you know, you have to cultivate that mindset. Truly

Matt Dressel  (28:49):

Two, two ends of that. You're a hundred percent right. One is, hey, it's okay to make a comment. Yep. Number two, if it's like the first draft, like you're not even to the review stage and somebody missed a period, let it slide. Yeah. Like when you get to the final, like we, well, not me, we was talking about

Mitch (29:06):

I'll add that period. Yeah. <laugh>,

Matt Dressel  (29:08):

<laugh>. When we get to the end of it, when we get to the end of the process, we go through and we like actually review it together. We're like, okay, let's go through it, make sure the presentation's right. Make sure we're ready to go. That's the point in which just like, let's make sure everything is perfect. Right. But before that, like Yeah. Go in and if you wanna fix it yourself Sure, go ahead. Right. But if it's like something that is, is pretty obvious.

Mitch (29:31):

Yeah. I'm not gonna get on your case about, Hey Matt, you forgot a period. Yeah.

Matt Dressel  (29:34):

It's okay. It's not that big of a deal. And to your point, if somebody is saying that even if they're doing it early, it's okay. Yeah. Like, it's not, they're not yell, they're not it's, it is a, there is a cultural shift that is going, that is going to and has been happening, which is some people have a very difficult time with that situation on both ends. Either A, they cannot let an Oxford lie, or they always want to, whenever anybody says anything, it's always like, I did something bad, I'm in trouble. Like I, I should have, like, I should have been better or I need to defend myself. And in this, when you're collaborating, that's not a right mindset. That's not collaboration. Right? No. That is not collaboration. That is two people who have agendas trying to accomplish their agendas separate of one another. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> collaboration in the pure definition of the term, you should have a shared goal, a shared outcome that you're both like working together to accomplish, period.

Livvy (30:34):

Yeah. Well, you three, I think that's what I'm getting at too, is you three all have that mindset with one another. Yeah. Whereas again, that's not the case. That's not

Matt Dressel  (30:43):

The case ever. A hundred percent. Which that's, you were talking about lifting the veiling, you were talking about, we were talking about some of those other things that I agree with you. If I were to, to rank them, that would be the biggest, the biggest thing that people need to change about their organization and how they collaborate. Yeah. Which is, you know, people can call it stuffy, people can call it whatever you wanna call it. Coming up with the right balance for your organization between formal collaboration, that's very, you know, I don't know, I don't probably have a better way to say it, but formal, formal and ad hoc, you know, war room like lot, there's lots of ways to talk about it, but like, just throwing stuff all around, right? Yeah. The right, the, there's not every organization has is will be on one end or the other. The right answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but it shouldn't be. We all have our suits on today and we came into the office to talk about this email that we're about to write, like, that this is a waste of time, right? Yeah. let's just figure it out and move forward.

Livvy (31:43):

Kind of want to take that down the technology route. Now that we, that's

Matt Dressel  (31:48):

The last one that we wanna talk about. Yeah.

Livvy (31:49):

Because we've talked about internal collaboration, but on a bigger scale, where do you start with that? What,

Matt Dressel  (31:57):

Yeah, so the first, the first probably the, the first thing I would say is up to date collaboration tools. and what I mean by that is, if you're not using the latest version of Word, if you're not using the latest word of Google Docs, if you're not using the latest version of event, like you need to be on the latest of the latest of the latest, there is so much improvement that's happened in the last even four years. and there's so much more that's going to happen over the next 10 years. You need to be subscribed to a service that gets you the latest updates in, in of those technologies. You mean

Mitch (32:33):

I can't just pay once and have,

Matt Dressel  (32:34):

You cannot just pay once, number one. And if you currently are using Windows or Office 97 upgrade now, like, like I, there's no, even, even two years ago, the, the, the technology that you had was just not the same as it is today. And it's gonna keep getting better. The tools are gonna get better, there's gonna be new options, new features. you need to be on the latest and greatest of that stuff.

Livvy (32:58):

I was gonna say definitely emphasize that point, because I think what a lot of people go into with updates is, well, it's probably just bug fixes. Yeah.

Matt Dressel  (33:06):

Or not

Livvy (33:06):

Working and it's not the case.

Matt Dressel  (33:07):

It's working for me. Why would I need these new things? Right? Like it's, it's everything I do, it's perfect. It's perfect what I, for what I do, they don't even realize what they could be having. if they would just like let it, let it let the updates come and you'll accept it. Right? Yeah. which is like truthfully, a lot of people get very nervous about updates because it might break something and it's, I'm, I'm not gonna lie it it does sometimes, but that is so infrequent mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it so doesn't matter for most of the things. And you get, so especially if you're, if it's been two years since you've updated, it's just update. And that's,

Mike (33:46):

And that's all about the posture of your organization. If if you have an organization with it, that's the posture of that your organization toward whatever the tools you use might be. Right. I

Matt Dressel  (33:57):

Mean, it can be your organization. It could also also be you personally. Like we know large organizations that have gotten exceptions to keep old stuff just because somebody who's about to retire doesn't wanna switch.

Livvy (34:10):

They they know it. Yes.

Matt Dressel  (34:12):

Like, like they're like, I don't wanna lose software.

Mike (34:14):

Which is, which is a poor posture.

Matt Dressel  (34:16):

It's a, it's terrible posture. Like it which like even if everyone else is updating that one person that is gonna hold everybody back mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, like, because they can't collaborate the same way as everyone else. Right. yeah. So up updates is one thing. Technology a hundred percent get on the latest and keep on the latest, let it, let, like, let the updates come fast and furious.

Livvy (34:38):

Yeah. You made an interesting point cuz I think that's a problem for a lot of organizations is people who are, have been there for a long time, kind of are making those update decisions while I works for me, I don't, I don't wanna learn it, I don't wanna learn it. Yeah. So that's a good point.

Matt Dressel  (34:53):

I I don't have a golden a silver bullet for how to solve that problem. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. it's a real problem. It's a real problem for a lot of organizations. I don't know that I have a good, good like way to just fix that other than to say, don't let that stop you. Because especially if you're in a large organization, it, the, the detriment is can be huge.

Mike (35:15):

Well, and the quicker you can get to it, the more damage you mitigate down the road. Yeah. Right.

Matt Dressel  (35:21):

If you can get, if it's really painful for six months to get that person to move once they're done Yeah. It will get better. I promise. It'll get

Mike (35:27):

Better. Or if you're just getting started Right. Think of this first. Yeah.

Matt Dressel  (35:32):

Right. Don't let it get bad.

Mike (35:33):

Don't let it get bad. Yep.

Matt Dressel  (35:34):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah. You skip one update and all of a sudden two years later you're a lot behind you pay for it. Yeah. Yeah. The other thing that I would say is that there's another a number of ancillary technologies that are exclusively focused on collaboration that you should be looking into. You've got planner, you've got whiteboard, you've got whimsical, you've got mural, you've got monday.com. You've got like, there is a plethora of tools that are all meant for collaborating on specific things. the new thing from Blue Loop, you've got Notion, yep. You've got OneNote, you've got like, all these things are different tools with different mediums and different benefits and, and, and challenges for collaboration, right? All of these things are almost exclusively cloud-based. You in almost every case, you don't, there's no desktop version of it. Everything's in the cloud and they're all for like note taking or project planning or managing lists of data or managing you know, tasks and priority.


Like there's a ton of stuff out there that you should also become familiar with, right. Once you get on the basics of, you know, PowerPoints and words and Excels and you know, webpages through SharePoint. Right? Great. You did that. Now what about everything else, right? What about when I really want hyper collaborative, you know, whatever, whatever I'm trying to do, right? there are a bunch of other tools that you can look at and investigate that may be a good su good purpose for you. The one caveat comment note that I would make on that is businesses also have a large problem where you can, you can fall into two categories of bus organization. One where it is like everything is only able to be done if it's done my way. And we, these are our standard processes and procedures and technologies and that's it.


And that's the only thing you can do. There's nothing else. And there's the other end which is like, yeah, whatever you want, you as a person, you, you like this one. Go, go do it. More power to you. There is a middle ground, right? The, on the one end, you, you you stifle innovation, you stifle someone saying, I'm gonna try this out and see if it works for me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, oh it does. Let's use it everywhere. Right? And on the other end, you aren't able to maintain everything because one project's using planner, another project's using monday.com, another one's using DevOps or using like any of these other tools for managing their project. Right. That's not good. Cuz now when this person needs to leave and go to work on a different project, it's completely different. Right. So you need to have that middle ground. So yes, investigate all these tools, look at all these technologies, but keep an eye towards standardization because you also don't wanna have to train everyone on every piece of technology. That would be an impossible task because there's a new one every week,

Livvy (38:27):

Right? Yeah. That was gonna be my comment is once you taste the, like efficiencies of all this, you don't wanna go too far mm-hmm. <affirmative> and then you're spread out and you're kind of back at square one actually.

Matt Dressel  (38:39):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Yeah, because, because just because you know how to use this one doesn't mean you know how to use that one. And now when you try to go over there and use that one with this other project, you don't know what to do and you're stuck.

Livvy (38:49):

Right. Okay. So with everything that we've talked about with internal collaboration and to whoever's listening is like, wow, this is something that I'm really struggling with or my organization's really struggling with. What would be maybe your one point or like send off note to someone who is either dealing with the ego side of things or they don't know where to start.

Matt Dressel  (39:11):

It really depends on your position in an organization and the amount that you can affect. Change the ego thing. Live the life that you want. Don't have the ego. Let people talk about the periods all day long and let it go. That. Cuz that's something you can control. And as long as your boss isn't going, you made us look stupid cuz you had an Oxford. Like, it doesn't matter. Right? Beyond that, have a conversation with your boss. Have a conversation with it. Have a conversation with, because some of that stuff you're gonna need to have some sort of backing on, right? You can do some in your organization, in your group, in your area. and I would always recommend, you know, do what you can do and what you can control. but, you know, get involved. Like a lot of organizations, if, if, you know, when we work with organizations, we talk about the champion model, we talk about a model for change, which we're gonna talk about a little bit later. Change management is of an important piece. Plug yourself into that. Yeah. Be like, Hey, I have ideas about what I think we should do. I think they're valuable. Where's the space in this organization that I can plug into that? How do I make that happen? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right? Which is why all of this is all interconnected, right? We've, in this conversation, we've talked about two or three different areas that are all kind of interconnected and it's because they're all interconnected.

Mitch (40:29):

We covered a lot, we covered some mindset, some approach, some principles, some technology, how to get started. And then the last area that we would typically cover in one of these focus areas is like, what are some frequent problems that people might encounter? And so I want to get into one right now. And that, and that's it. We don't need to do, do too much, but we can't. Do we, I know, I know there's so many, but one is these collaboration tools. This open office environment is noisy. How do I keep the noise down? Because I've seen comments online, just people saying, I get rid of that crap, that teams that Slack, it's just noisy. Send me a, an email. How do you, how do you tackle that problem?

Matt Dressel  (41:15):

So I would say probably have someone involved in too many things or they don't know how to effectively manage their notifications. So different organizations work differently and different people work differently. Not all of it works the same way. understanding what it is that the expectation is for people to be watching and monitoring and seeing these things is important. And it's tough because it's very different than what people have had in the past where I wait for somebody to explicitly address me before I get a a notice, right? If I'm a member of a channel or the member, member of a team, I'm gonna get a notice for all of the stuff, right? I'm gonna, at least if I don't get a notification in my bottom little ding with my little badge at the bottom, you're gonna get when I go into teams, I'm gonna see you got 15 unread messages, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. and that may be overwhelming for some people, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,

Mike (42:17):

Especially people who are inbox zero people.

Matt Dressel  (42:20):

Yes. I have to have an inbox zero. Yeah. Yeah. Well, people who are inbox zero people and people who are not able to read something, recognize it's not them and just throw it out. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those, those, that combination of the two is where I think the real problem comes to. A lot of times I need to get this to be unread, which I have, like, I, that's me. Like I have to have my email unread, but I can look at most emails or most chat messages and, and within four lines go, okay, so

Mike (42:48):

I don care. This is, this is where some of those other tools that you talked about that are useful for collaboration can come in handy. It allows you to take those messages that are coming in and put them into places where you can queue them up for something later. So planner to do. Yep. Like all of these other tool, these boards, right? These task board tools can be an effective way for you to do that, right? Yep. You can quickly go through that litany of things that are there, create tasks for yourself or to do item and then be done with the email thing and come back to do the other thing. Do the actual work when it needs to be done.

Matt Dressel  (43:22):

So an interesting scenario would be like managers who are members of teams because they're managers of the people that are in the team. How do you need that

Mike (43:31):

Oversight? Of course.

Matt Dressel  (43:33):

Yeah. Like I don't control, I don't, I don't understand it, right? Like, if they're gonna contribute, that's great, but if they're gonna, if they're gonna join the team and they're gonna complain about seeing all the messages, why are they there? Like, I don't get it, right? Like I don't, I don't understand it, right? Because the reality is that team needs to be effective at what they're doing to be effective, what they're doing. They need to be able to communicate and to be able to communicate effectively. That's what they need. So yeah, I mean it's, it's a challenge and it, and it sparked, you know, to your point, like there's a lot of different reasons you could have that issue depending on the scenario for the person. But like I said, a lot of it likely has to do with, you know, miss, you know, they're in too many teams. They, they only need to get the outcome of this thing. Why are they a member of actual member of the team and or notification changes. So yes, I wanna be a part of the team cuz I wanna be able to look at it every once in a while. Great. Mute the entire team,

Mike (44:26):

Right? I've had good luck with projects

Mitch (44:29):

That I'm maybe on. I contribute at some point. It's just a matter of kind of my position or my skillset on that project, but day-to-day I do not do anything. And so I mute it and I check it every couple days and say anything relevant interesting to me, come in. Yeah. If I'm not tagged in anything, that's a good sign for me. So I usually just ignore. and then also I would add, I am the guy who will go through the long list of channels and archive things. Yeah. And they're old. I think when you create these teams with all these channels, it can get massive. And so it can be overwhelming when someone is scanning through and seeing all the red notifications. And so I'm like, I'm gonna go clean stuff up. I'm gonna make that list be smaller and get rid of the Mitch, you are the human

Matt Dressel  (45:20):


Mitch (45:21):

Policy. Yeah. Yeah.

Matt Dressel  (45:22):

<laugh>, you can, you can also hide in teams in particular, you can also hide teams. So Sure. Like there's, there's a number of teams that like to your point in our organization that I only eat every once in a while, like very, very infrequently, like yes, they probably should be there, but I don't want to have to have a memo the list, put 'em, hide em and reorganize, like drag 'em up and down, reorganize 'em to how you like to see them and move on. Right? so a lot of that I think is a, there's a definitely a use, like not using a training issue. I would, the other piece that I would say is it's also a mindset issue, right? Like it is a not being used to using the tooling or the way that that is happening, right? If you think about a lot of these people, we think about what they've experienced in the past, if the only place you've ever communicated is either via email or in a meeting, it can be overwhelming people just sending messages after message after a message. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I don't know, like that's just the way, that's the way of the future. It's not going, it's not going away. Yeah. You need to figure out how to manage it and be okay with it.

Mitch (46:26):

Yeah. So for those of you that claim noise, you need to figure it out. <laugh> you need to manage. I mean when I say that, I'm saying figure out what the real problem is, right? Yeah. Right. I is it that you're shouldn't be part of these things and you are, is it that people are do putting stuff in places they shouldn't? So let's say we've got an announcements channel and everybody's posting random stuff in there, right? That's not okay. Right, right. Like, stop doing that. Right? Like there is an underlying thing. It's not a technology thing, it's something else, right? It's so funny. And if the, and if the problem is, like Mike said, I'm a zero email person and I am overwhelmed. I cannot keep up with all of those things. Take it to the next step. Well like what, what, why? Like, what are all these, how many of them really matter to you? Like what is going on?


We went a lot longer on this than I expected. You seem to think that it was gonna be short, I think. But when we get you going, we get you going. I'm excited about it. Thank you for sharing so much with us about internal collaboration today. This is still just kinda scratching the surface. I feel like we could keep going and we will be covering more in that product that I was talking about earlier. We'll share more about that at some point. But for now, we're gonna close it out. thanks everyone for listening. Thanks you guys for the conversation and we'll see you again next time.


Hey, thanks for joining us today. If you haven't already subscribed to our show on your favorite podcasting app, so you'll always be up to date on the most recent episodes. This podcast is hosted by the team members of Bulb Digital. And special thanks to Eric Vineman for our music tracks and producing this episode. If you have any questions for us, head to make others successful.com and you can get in touch with us there. You'll also find a lot of blogs and videos and content that will help you modernize your workplace and get the most out of Office 365. Thanks again for listening. We'll see you next time.

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