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Cooking Up Collaboration: The Secret Sauce to Workplace Success (No, It's Not Just Another Potluck!

Who doesn’t like a good holiday’s office potluck. It’s a wonderful opportunity to abandon the boring lunch from home for a tasty and exciting food. It’s a chance to get to know your co-workers on more personal level, learn about different cultures and customs, have some fun, eat together. Someone said: “Breaking bread is the best way to feel connected.”

Of course, there is some preparation needed. We don’t want to end up with 12 different types of cakes on the table (although local dentist might be very happy about that).

And, of course, someone would need to volunteer to take care of the dishes afterwards.

The wonderful thing is that we are not just enjoying ourselves in the moment, we also creating great memories and most likely will be open to the idea of repeating the experience in the future.

What if I tell you, that we do not need to wait for the Christmas to create the same experience for our employees and get some important work done at the same time?

There are plenty of occasions and projects in every company that can be used as an opportunity for interdepartmental collaboration. And following the potluck scenario can make it a quite simple process.

Step 1.

Food is not the only exciting and uniting topic. Find out what your people are passionate about and align it with one of the company’s goals.

Step 2.

Pick a collaboration champion. It doesn’t have to be a formal team leader. It’s even better for team member with leadership potential to try the waters.

Step 3.

Set the overall expectations and provide guidance but leave the space for initiative and innovation (remember, you don’t want to have 12 cakes, but you want people to bring something interesting and new).

Step 4.

Create the time and inviting space for people to collaborate. (No one would enjoy the potluck in the tiny broom closet)

Step 5.

Accept that collaborations can be messy and not everything will go according to plan, but the experience itself might be the biggest and the best lesson for everybody involved.

And who knows, maybe “the potluck” style collaborations will create the competitive advantage that would push your organization ahead your competitors while creating a place for employees to thrive.


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