May 4, 2023 5 Min Read
Cross-Functional Collaboration: Key Behaviors For Success
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller. This quote rings true, especially in the context of large enterprises where cross-functional collaboration is crucial for success. In this article, we explore key behaviors that foster effective collaboration across functions, leading to better results and a stronger organization.
Identifying & Breaking Down Silos
Silos can hinder the flow of information and ideas within an organization, stifling innovation and progress. To combat this, it’s essential to identify where silos exist across functional areas and ecosystems. Jeanette Teh, a leadership coach at TaskHuman, suggests starting with trying to understand the other team’s perspective and motivations. By looking at the situation from their point of view, and trying to speak their language, you can identify opportunities for better collaboration. Once identified, you can actively work to bridge these gaps by fostering communication and cooperation between departments. For example, consider implementing regular cross-departmental meetings, sharing success stories, or launching joint projects. Reflect on your own organization: are there any silos that you can help break down?
Sharing Customer Information & Leveraging Expertise
Sharing customer information and relationships can create a more holistic understanding of your clients’ needs, allowing your organization to provide better solutions. Make a habit of sharing customer insights with your colleagues and seeking their expertise in return. For instance, a marketing team might share customer feedback with the product development team, leading to improvements in product design.
TaskHuman Coach Alexandra Popkova recommends that you always remember that these experts have jobs and priorities of their own. She coaches leaders to start from a neutral position and ask for their colleagues’ support. Alexandra reminds leaders to summarize, and set clear expectations on the support they are offering, from both a scope and timeframe perspective. Ask yourself, how can you share valuable customer information and tap into the expertise of your colleagues more effectively?
Rewarding Teamwork & Collaboration
Creating a culture that values teamwork and collaboration can motivate employees to work together more effectively. One way to do this is by implementing a reward system that acknowledges and celebrates collaborative efforts. For example, a company might offer bonuses or recognition for teams that successfully collaborate on a project.
Alexandra reminds leaders that simple recognition can be a powerful reward too, if done properly. Being specific of who supported the effort and their specific contribution demonstrates a higher regard for your colleague, says Alexandra. Consider the way you tend to communicate and offer recognition: does it honor the colleague and promote teamwork and collaboration?
Modeling Collaborative Leadership
Collaborative leadership plays a vital role in fostering a culture that embraces teamwork. Leaders who model collaboration demonstrate its importance to the organization and inspire employees to follow suit. One way to do that is to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable in contributing to the collaboration. Jeanette Teh has a simple tactic she often recommends: “Instead of asking for people to speak their opinions in open meetings, which may be intimidating for some, provide a few moments for everyone to write down their thoughts, and then make time to include all team members to share their thoughts”. Reflect on your own leadership style: Are you setting an example of collaborative leadership for your team?
Cross-functional collaboration is critical for the success of large enterprises. By identifying and breaking down silos, sharing customer information and leveraging expertise, rewarding teamwork and collaboration, and modeling collaborative leadership, you can create a more cohesive and productive organization.
Choose one of these insights to focus on and take action. Consider engaging a coach to help you bring your collaborative efforts to life and make a lasting impact on your organization’s success. Remember, together we can achieve so much more than we can alone.
Book your session with a TaskHuman leadership coach today!