Part One covered some of the major cultural and structural roadblocks to cross-functional work contributing to enterprise transformation.
In Part Two, we list some of the best practices for generating cooperation across functions.
Outcome driven projects with a clear end date:
We’ve all had the experience of getting to know colleagues because we were thrown together to resolve some issue or make sure something like a product launch happens on time. We’ve all been there and can testify that working on a time-driven project forms natural teams and often builds networks that persist long after the project is completed.
The main source of cross-functional networks in transformed organizations is that their members have had multiple occasions to work together on projects that are important or even critical. Like initiations in fraternities or military academies, the tougher the assignment, the more bonding occurs for team members.
A word of caution is appropriate. Study tasks are not as effective as outcome-driven tasks. In keeping with Part One on this subject, executives at the top of Silos often delegate a problem down to a cross-functional team simply because they do not want to initiate the conflict at their levels with their peers. The task is obviously one that should and could be resolved at the executive level but might run the risk of conflict and argument. Conflict is usually, and unwittingly, delegated down at least one level and hardly ever resolved at the lower level. Such delegations are often unwitting but nonetheless demoralizing.
In the profession of management consulting, not interviewing all stakeholders before prescribing a solution or course of action is almost always fatal. While an interview can paint a clear picture of a client’s culture and traditions, it also provides a chance for stakeholders to be heard and considered. Relationships between the consultant and the manager interviewed can form fast and are essential to anything that might follow.
A transformational leader knows that behavior is linked to how the organizational world looks for people more than rewards, encouragement, or any of the traditional tools used to encourage good work. Before it’s absolutely necessary to work cross-functionally, a leader can help structure interviews and send his staff into Silos of importance to determine just how the company, the competition, and their own function appear to the cross-functional stakeholders.