Tips for Building Cross-Functional Team
Cross-functional collaborations are integral to innovation and improve business performance. It is important for every business leader to lay the foundation for a united approach towards the attainment of a common goal. This isn’t possible without the cross-functional team.
Below are some practical tips for building cross-functional team:
1. Promote diversity:
If you want to maximize the effectiveness of your cross-functional team then you must learn to create groups that are diverse across a number of areas. Some of the ideas to factor in when developing a cross-functional team include experience, skills, gender, location, age, ability, and seniority.
2. Resist the urge to overschedule meetings:
Although meetings are important in every organization and also for cross-functional collaborations. It can sometimes be difficult to get everyone’s schedule to align for a meeting especially when working with a large diverse team. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the number of meetings in cross-functional collaboration. Thereby, utilizing time wisely. Instead, you can employ the use of newer communication and collaboration tools such as that offered by Orgzit. This can help teams to collaborate between meetings, reducing the need for them to always meet physically.
And if there is absolutely a reason to meet physically, there must be a strict agenda and a well-defined method to document any follow-up task. You may even have to set a timer to limit the time spent on any one topic.
3. Measure the true impact:
It is only human to be motivated by success. One of the surest ways of creating momentum and ensuring the sustainability of your team is by helping them see the impact of their collaboration. People naturally want to know that their effort is making a difference and showing them these results will get them more interested in continuing engagement.
4. Involve influencers:
Virtually every organization have special groups of people who are natural born leaders regardless of the position they occupy within the organization. These people are usually respected and well-liked, and can easily work with most other people within the organization. They are also motivators, capable of motivating and inspiring others to participate and excel at activities. These are the perfect individuals that you should involve in any collaboration effort, as they can spur others towards improved performance.
5. Leverage subject matter experts:
Another set of people who can help accelerate cross-functional efforts are those who know more about a particular product, process or discipline. They can achieve this by sharing their knowledge with the rest of the organization. Typically, such experts are paired with subject matter novice. This is often a good way to educate the less experienced individual while at the same time provide the expert with a fresh point of view.
6. Encourage random interactions:
Some of the best and most successful collaboration projects are the product of random interactions. This is a fairly common source of collaborative ideas such that some companies intentionally design their workspace such as to encourage random interactions.
7. Align incentives:
All the above tips would translate to little or nothing if workers are not properly compensated for their effort. It is bad practice for financial incentives to be based on solely on goals on one department. This will cause conflict and poor results. To improve cross-functional collaboration, goals, and incentives that require it must be set by leaders and people must be rewarded for improving the overall system. not just part of it.
How to build trust within a cross-platform collaboration team
Trust is an ingredient very essential for any functional relationship, be it personal or organizational. In a cross-platform arrangement, trust is particularly very important as different people from different sectors of a business must come together and work towards the attainment of a goal, where no one has direct authority over anyone else.
Aytekin Tank, the CEO, and Founder of JotForm revealed that its company extended trust by having each team share on a weekly basis what they have done and what they have learned as a result. He revealed that this technique does it to breed two things, firstly by enabling learning and secondly, building healthy competition.
Building trust will be more difficult when members are geographically dispersed. Below are some practical tips towards building trust within multi-functional teams so as to bring about enhanced profitability, productivity, and functionality.
Recognizing the trust issue
The first step toward building trust is to identify if there are trust issues. The diagnosing of this problem will also act as a guide for any trust-building efforts. Some of the danger signs of low level of trust include:
-lack of involvement
-lack of interpersonal interactions
-Talking behind each other’s back
-Focusing on functional instead of group goals
-Team members avoid asking for help
Actions to build trust
1. Arranging face to face meetings:
Early in a team’s developmental stage, arrange face-to-face direct meetings so everyone can put a face to a name. In scenarios where members are in different locations, hosting online video conferencing can simulate face-to-face interactions. These meetings create an avenue for team members to connect and build trust.
2. Partnering team members:
This involves having team members from various locations working together on specific projects and then rotating the team so that eventually, everyone will have partnered with everyone else at least once. This provides an opportunity for team members to establish credibility, demonstrate reliability, and build relationships.
3. Clarifying shared goals and common ground:
For a functional and working collaboration effort, the entire team must be focused on the same objectives. Establishing common grounds creates a scenario where it is no longer “my goals” or “your goals” but “our goals”. This makes cooperation and collaboration more desirable.
4. Using Action plans:
Action plan outline helps team members to become more responsible. It clearly identifies who is responsible for what and when that activity is targeted for completion. Action plans improve reliability. This increases the likelihood that people will deliver on their promises. Orgzit is a reliable tool that can help to create action plans within a cross-functional collaboration.
5. Celebrating wins as a group:
Whenever there is a major accomplishment by team members, such as meeting with a tough deadline, making a big sale or solving a particularly challenging productivity issue, such victory should be celebrated as a team. This creates an avenue for team members to recognize the contributions of others as well as enhance reliability and perception of credibility.
6. Encourage team members to voice their concerns:
This is one of the elements that destroy trust within a team. When a problem gets ignored, the chances of fixing it becomes impossible. They eventually eat away productivity and erode trust. To improve trust you must create an avenue where it is safe and expected for members to voice their complaint and concerns, and even acting on it when feasible. This is a major part creating intimacy within the team and improving self-orientation. When concerns are constructively raised and addressed, team members attain confidence to confide in others without entertaining fear of retribution.
These above methods can help to improve the trust level between team members within a multi-functional team.
Building a cross-functional team can become a daunting task. But, with a smart approach, you can build an encouraging collaborative culture in your organization and can build together a collaborative pit of diverse talents. Such talents always encourage to accomplish big challenges and unleash great opportunities. In current business climate, cross-functional teams are leading success and leave the failure of mismanagement behind.