Return on Collaboration™

WARNING: Poor Collaboration Could be Costing You 1.9 Days Each Week!

The time you spend on internal meetings has been rising steadily. So, you won’t be surprised that executives generally report spending an average of 70% of their time on internal collaboration. However, what will surprise you is data showing how much of this is actually wasted.

In this short whitepaper we will explore the real-world Return on Collaboration based on data from 900 executives. We will calculate the cost of poor collaboration in terms of time and wages, but also in terms of energy and engagement. Finally, we will build the business case for tackling the issue of poor collaboration within your organization or team.

Return on Collaboration Whitepaper


Background & Methodology
This whitepaper is based on our ongoing program of applied research and joint discovery with executives from business units and teams within over 900 organizations (incl. IBM, 3M and GE). 



Research is based on data gathered via our performance analytics platform – Pitstop Analytics™ and the research frameworks published in our books Pitstop to Perform™ and Growth Pitstop™.


Here is a quick summary of the main points:

The Typical Week – Choosing How You Spend Your Time


Imagine it is mid-morning on Thursday. You have 3 choices:


You need to do (b), you would like to do (c), but chances are you are already on your way to yet another internal meeting (a). But think again! How much is another internal meeting going to actually contribute to the success of your week. Well, chances are very little. To use more technical language – the payback (what we call Return on Collaboration™) is likely to be poor.

How Much Time Is Spent on Collaboration?

The data tells us that executives are spending an average of 70% of their time on internal collaboration(1). That includes time spent on emails, calls and meetings with colleagues on their team, as well as on other teams, departments and functions. Apply this data to a 5 day working week and it means that from Tuesday lunchtime onward is spent on internal collaboration (shown as black in the diagram below).


Most of the typical working week is now spent on internal collaboration (i.e. 3.6 days). It accounts for all of Tuesday afternoon, together with the full day on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday too! That is a lot of collaboration, but how much of this is effective or worthwhile?

How Much Collaboration Is Effective?

The data tells us that just under half of all collaboration (i.e. 47%) adds real value, the rest does not. Apply this data to the typical work week and the following picture (2) emerges:



Of the time spent collaborating 47% adds value. In other words it helps people to get their work done, solve important problems, or otherwise make progress. This ‘good’ collaboration accounts for 1.7 days each week, or Tuesday afternoon and all of Wednesday. But it ends at 10 am on Thursday – from there on the typical week is spent on collaboration that adds little or no value.


This brings us right back to where we started – the decision at the beginning of this article – to go golfing or to another meeting.




Want to delve deeper?


Download the white paper to find out the real cost of poor collaboration for your organisation and the business case for change.

A Call to Action

Frustrated by the amount of time you spend on internal meetings?

The future will likely require more collaboration, rather than less. However, with something that is so important and takes up so much our time, it is vital that we can maximize its effectiveness. That is why Return on Collaboration™ matters.


Concerned or curious about your team’s Return on Collaboration™?

To measure the Return on Collaboration™ for your organization or team talk to us, we provide analytics and workshops that help leaders and their teams to take back up to 10 hours a week lost in poor internal collaboration.