Adobe Digital Dialogue

The one thing to make this year better than the last: Naomi Simson

Insights on business productivity from Naomi Simson, founding director of Australian online tech success story RedBalloon and Redii.

I know that we all start the year wish­ing that it will be a bit eas­i­er than the year before, maybe have a few more wins, and make a bit more mon­ey. That we might have won some more cus­tomers and grown a bit. As the months pass most of us realise that in fact the year seems tougher than the last. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, you are not imag­in­ing this. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mel­bourne Cen­ter for Work­place Lead­er­ship has giv­en us the data – sim­ply put, the costs of employ­ment in Aus­tralia are going up, (peo­ple cost more) and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty (the abil­i­ty to get things done) is going down!

The more busi­ness­es pay for peo­ple – does not mean the more you get.

The real trick is how do you cre­ate high per­form­ing teams; to get the most from peo­ple, and so that they too feel a sense of accom­plish­ment and get things done.

The research has iden­ti­fied that low per­form­ing teams use email – and ‘lin­ear’, iso­lat­ed, asyn­chro­nous com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Dr Ric Symes has iden­ti­fied that if teams can move from asyn­chro­nous to col­lab­o­ra­tive tools, there will be an increase in GDP (a nation’s total pro­duc­tiv­i­ty) of 1%; this is mate­ri­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant. Con­nec­tiv­i­ty tools cre­ate a bet­ter expe­ri­ence for team mem­bers too.

It was Lynn Goodyear, the CEO of the Aus­tralian Insti­tute of Human Resources, who said that you can­not just give peo­ple these tools and expect them to change the way they work. You have to bring peo­ple with you on the jour­ney of col­lab­o­ra­tion, teach­ing them and guid­ing them to move away from their old work prac­tices.

When we talk about col­lab­o­ra­tion we mean see­ing, hear­ing and shar­ing – it is in real time. It is about pro­vid­ing the tools that allow for the sim­plest and most effi­cient out­comes to be pro­duced.

I have employed many and var­i­ous col­lab­o­ra­tion tools in my busi­ness­es. (Did you know that six out of 10 most down­loaded apps are mes­sag­ing apps). The thing is, for busi­ness, most of these freely avail­able mes­sag­ing and col­lab­o­ra­tion tools are not secure.

“If you’re not pay­ing for it, you’re not the cus­tomer, you’re the prod­uct being sold”. Great quote from blue_beetle Metafil­ter Forum User.

By 2018, 50% of team coor­di­na­tion will hap­pen via busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tion tools.

I know, not just from my own expe­ri­ence, that when peo­ple are able to be pro­duc­tive and get on with the work of the day – if they go home feel­ing like a win­ner (and proud) of what they achieved, then they are far more like­ly to be ‘engaged’ and love where they work. The sim­ple cost of recruit­ing and retain­ing peo­ple can be crip­pling for a small busi­ness. So get­ting this piece right is essen­tial.

With, which is a plat­form designed to rec­og­nize people’s con­tri­bu­tion, and cel­e­brate suc­cess, we put in a col­lab­o­ra­tion com­po­nent. The recog­ni­tion wall allows peo­ple to socialise recog­ni­tion and to see what oth­ers are doing in the busi­ness.

The results have been remark­able. When peo­ple can see what oth­ers are doing and achiev­ing in the work­place, they too want to be a part of the ‘win­ning’ for­mu­la.

Suc­cess breeds suc­cess.

Col­lab­o­ra­tion, ampli­fi­ca­tion and trans­paren­cy are the way to achieve mate­r­i­al and sig­nif­i­cant pro­duc­tiv­i­ty gains in your busi­ness.

Time to turn of the email serv­er (or have struc­tured times around answer­ing them) open up some secure busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tion tools (mak­ing sure that you work with the team on how to use them)… and then this year may well be slight­ly bet­ter than that last.

About the Author

Nao­mi Sim­son is the found­ing direc­tor of Aus­tralian online tech suc­cess sto­ry Red­Bal­loon and Redii. She has writ­ten more than 1000 blog posts at, is a pro­fes­sion­al speak­er, author of Live What You Love & Ready To Soar, and is one of five “Sharks” on TEN’s busi­ness real­i­ty show Shark Tank.

Join Nao­mi Simson’s Pri­vate Face­book Group to share your thoughts on this post by sub­scrib­ing to her small busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty here.

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