2011-09-03

Cross functional team harmony - part 2

Drake Editorial Team

Cross-functional teams are being used increasingly in organizations to improve coordination of interdependent activities among specialized subunits. The team usually includes representatives from each of the functional subunits involved in a project, and it may include representatives from outside organizations such as suppliers, clients, and joint venture partners. The team is given responsibility for planning and conducting a complex activity that requires considerable coordination, cooperation, and joint problem solving among the parties. Examples of these activities include developing a new product and bringing it into production, implementing a new information system, identifying ways to improve product quality, planning an ad campaign for the client of an advertising agency, carrying out a consulting project, developing a new health care program in a hospital, and developing a new MBA program in a university.

 

To aid you with strategizing cross functional teams here are some ideas to make your issues operate smoothly. 

  • Share learning gaps and fears. The only way to establish cross-functional objectives is to immediately get out of the way fears and barriers.
  • Defining Team Ground Rules in addition to individual goals. Explain how each individual adds to the collective goal. It takes hundreds of people to build a data center each with their functional expertise. Explain how each person is a piece of the organizational puzzle for job completion.
  • Tackle issues immediately. Do not allow the cross functional group to harbor on issues this delays data and ruins the collaboration of the team.
  • Implement Accountability. There is a domino effect when people fail milestones. Hold people accountable to achieve the overall mission.
  • Settle disputes quickly. People will harbor issues but the job must be completed. Let issues end as quickly as they begin.
  • Welcome diverse opinions. When members know their opinion counts they are more participative and this allows for more freedom of thought.
  • Conducting Effective Team Meetings is the last method to ensuring your team’s mutual success. Keep all people in the know and communicate barriers and areas of success.
  • Measure progress and celebrate it. Team members need to understand where they are and how they are performing. More importantly people need to be rewarded for meeting team goals.

 


 About Contributor – Drew Stevens Ph.D. Drew Stevens PhD works with organizations that struggle with productivity that effects profits. Dr. Drew works with senior officers and their direction reports to dramatically increase relationships that build higher morale. He can be reached through his website at www.stevensconsultinggroup.com© 2008. Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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In my previous blog entries I have argued about the validity of the People > Service > Profit idea, the importance of Hiring Right and the fact that often good people are stopped by bad processes or bad management.

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