Building a cross-functional team has unquestionably enormous value, but success isn’t always guaranteed. In actuality, more than 75% of cross-functional teams are ineffective.
Organizations encounter a number of difficulties that jeopardize their performance when they work to increase visibility, cooperation, and efficiency through a cross-functional structure, including:
Recognizing each department’s advantages and giving their concerns, objectives, and value the same weight are key components of cross-functional teams. But determining who is in authority becomes challenging in this situation. Despite the fact that departmental managers and leaders already have a lot on their plates, less seasoned workers could lack the perspective needed to accurately reflect the tasks performed by their teams.
Typically, higher-level professionals (such as executives or directors) from each department would serve as the team’s first leaders until handing up responsibility to their subordinates if the activity becomes too time-consuming. These team members, however, are frequently totally preoccupied with the goals of their particular team and are unable to see the wider picture, which causes misalignment, interdepartmental friction, and a lack of strategic direction.
Organizations should urge their leaders to participate actively in their cross-functional teams in order to solve this issue. Leaders should have a strong interest in sustaining the focus on company-wide goals (rather to just their teams’ specific goals) by including the participation and success of their cross-functional projects as a performance criterion for those higher-level responsibilities.
Without the proper support tools, your business can advocate for cross-functional teams until the cows come home, but it won’t be able to achieve its goals. In order to avoid adding to your teams’ workloads, a cross-functional approach should be used. As a result, if the tools your teams are using are confusing or incoherent, you should either reduce your standards or make an investment in better alternatives.
Your sales and marketing teams, for instance, won’t be able to comprehend the full scope of their cooperative efforts if they use a variety of disconnected technologies to carry out their tasks. As data is always changing, they will waste time re-entering it into those unconnected systems and will always be behind those insights.
Your teams require tools that can interact with one another and are constantly updated if they are to become genuinely cross-functional. As your firm expands, technology should enable exchanging insights, creating collaborative plans, and organizing projects and activities smooth and simple.
Extended, fruitless meetings
Every employee in your company is (ideally) already occupied taking care of their respective work. Being overrun by lengthy, inefficient meetings that steal valuable time away from their respective tasks is the very last thing they want or need. While it is true that a weekly or even daily email is insufficient to guarantee the success of cross-functional teams, protracted meetings without a clear agenda won’t do anything other than irritate your staff.
Focus on solving problems rather than holding sessions where each member discusses every detail they feel significant. Encourage team members to provide specific problems, potential fixes, and ideas on how their coworkers may assist during the meeting. Then, develop action-driven strategies that will enable them to successfully accomplish those desired results.
This can also be assisted by the proper tools. Use software that allows leaders to swiftly assign work to people in place of sending out a post-meeting email with a list of follow-up activities and assignments. To ensure that nothing is overlooked, some systems even send automated reminders when deadlines get near.