It appears to be a simple question to answer. How would you manage a business otherwise? Cross-functional collaboration is required for developing a service or product, locating clients, and selling it to them. Even supporting your customers may entail marketing and support staff collaborating to respond to social media messages.
Believe or not, your company may already be cross collaborating. An organization opting to launch a new product line, for example, is an example of a formal project that necessitates cross-functional collaboration within a team. As a result, they enlist the support of the engineering team to determine the feasibility of actually manufacturing the product, the sales team to help identify an optimal selling price, and marketing to help determine the go-to-market strategy.
Another example of organic cross-functional collaboration is when your Sales Manager approaches your Marketing Manager to collaborate on a future warm lead campaign. Although no official project has been developed to implement this notion, both managers see mutual advantage in cooperating.
Each member of this cross-functional team can contribute information that influences the expected outcome or expectations of others. Engineering may use this information to decide that, in order to maintain adequate profit margins for the company, they need to minimize the cost of producing the product by removing complexity from its design.
Major initiatives frequently necessitate the participation of all team members. To get new insights, promote ambitious objectives, and keep departments aligned toward a shared goal, business leaders and project managers need to be competent at orchestrating cross-functional collaboration within their organizations.
Teams must agree on the group’s goals, tasks, and expectations in order for cross-functional collaboration to thrive. Timelines and specific milestones should be communicated by project managers to illustrate progress toward the project goal’s accomplishment.
Cross-functional collaboration entails more than just working together. It entails a common vision, mutual respect, and a knowledge of each individual’s position in a project. To achieve more as a team, it all boils down to working together smoothly and offering different perspectives.
In fact, research reveals that collaborative teams perform five times better than other teams in the workplace because they are motivated by a common purpose. Lack of cross-functional collaboration, on the other hand, can lead to tunnel vision and stagnation among teams. The notion of asserts that homogeneous groupings promote homogeneous thinking. As a result, myopic approaches to problem-solving emerge.
Cross-team collaboration, on the other hand, can be difficult to manage. Collaborations involving several functions frequently fail to stay on budget or on schedule, meet customer expectations, or match with the company’s overall objectives.
Cross-functional teamwork faces a new challenge in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and numerous work from home arrangements in place. To track group progress, organize team building activities for distant teams, and provide updates, many project managers increasingly have to rely on digital means of communication.
Remember in school when you had to submit an assignment with your allocated team, but there was one team member who never contributed much? This is known as social loafing, and it also happens in cross-organizational collaboration. A project manager should design measurements that effect the entire group, as well as the teams inside it, to eliminate this tendency.
For me, the major thing to do is to build trust. Collaboration will fail if there is no trust amongst employees working collaboratively in an organization. Individuals from various departments are unable to speak openly and, as a result, cooperate successfully toward the same goals due to a lack of trust.
Effective teamwork necessitates open and honest communication. If your organization’s lack of trust is preventing cooperation, start with a few tiny opportunities for individuals to collaborate for fast gains. Consider rewarding those who participate in cross-functional teamwork. Seeing short-term benefits and receiving rewards for success can help the folks develop trust.
Employees and leaders that work well together should be hired and promoted.
Culture takes the form of a set of shared human behavioral norms. As a result, creating a collaborative organizational culture necessitates collaboration-minded employees and executives.
Collaboration is not a skill that everyone possesses. Recruiters must assess and select applicants who are strong in this area, knowing this. Promoting existing workers with a strong collaborative attitude to leadership roles, on the other hand, aids in the effective collaboration of the rest of the workforce.
Cross-functional teamwork breaks down departmental silos, resulting in new ideas and greater insights. It keeps employees engaged by providing opportunities for learning, mentoring, and progression across roles and hierarchies. Most significantly, effective cross-functional collaboration enables executives to maximize the diversity of their workforce, establish a positive team culture, and boost overall productivity. So companies should try their best to promote it.
Check out my related post: Do you inspire collaboration in the organization?