Most companies, even the best of them, think of employees as their assets. In reality, people are the most important product of most businesses. This is the confusing bit. When it comes to strengthening their teams, most leaders are at a loss as to how to go about the process. In one hand, the employees are the primary resources of the company. On the other, they are products that keep the company mobile.
This is where the concept of cross-team collaboration becomes imperative. This promotes inter-team bonding. This drives constant improvement within the enterprise. It reduces cost, increases output and boosts the returns on investments.
Why is cross-team collaboration difficult?
Cross-team collaboration takes a lot of deliberation, time and dedication. Sadly, 75% of cross-functional teams in 25 companies comprising 95 teams are dysfunctional. This is according to a study conducted last year. You can blame the complete lack of a systemic approach for that. Here are the most important reasons why most cross-functional teams fail –
- Lack of specificity
- Lack of accountability
- Lack of a common goal
When was the last time you interacted with anyone from IT apart from when you needed the original printer checked?
This is the problem with today’s companies and their teams. There is no cross-communication between the teams. Business is complicated. It has several departments that need to communicate with them. The person working on an SEO management tool needs to contact the content team. The person working in digital marketing needs to work with the SEOs. “More teams from different departments need to come together to make effective decisions for the business,” says Tim Hird, the Executive Director of Robert Half Management Resources.
Let us challenge the problems head-on
The foundation of a successful company with functional teams rests on trust. It is hard to establish trust between two employees working in the same room. However, building a bond of trust between two people working on separate floors is another story altogether. It is almost impossible.
This is why kindling team spirit between different teams is paramount for your company –
1. It promotes learning and creativity
When people work together as a team, it fosters the creative spirit. Building larger teams improve brainstorming sessions. You automatically get better ideas and more ideas from a single session. This encourages healthy competition where unique perspectives combine to create novel ideas for new projects.
Teamwork maximizes knowledge sharing. What you know right now may be enough to spearhead a project, but you can use ideas from every member of your team to carry it forward. This will help you sharpen your leadership skills as well.
2. Creates complementarity
This gives the teammates opportunities to learn from each other. While Person A may be good at creative thinking, Person B may be better at executing an idea, and Person C might be able to sell the idea to the client.
This is how one team member can help the other with his or her skillset. This is how members learn to combine different skills to become a stronger team. To a certain extent, this also promotes a sense of loyalty amidst a team. It makes each employee feel more in control. An increased sense of involvement is all it takes for a team member to do their best.
3. Promotes a problem-solving attitude
Conflicts are a part of every successful company. This is inevitable when you put together some young talents and independent thinkers. While some conflicts are good for the growth of the enterprise. For example – conflicts about the execution of the storyboard of the new sales pitch. Some are, unwanted. Since most people come from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, an icebreaker is necessary to encourage cooperation. A healthy team should be able to solve similar conflicts without involving the HR. Learning how to resolve conflict is a skill that each employee needs to acquire to become an integral part of a growing community.
4. Enables healthy risk-taking
Individuals are less likely to take the risk for a solo project. If the project fails, the entire heat comes onto the lone wolf. However, if it is a team project, although is it shared success for your team; the scorn failure is also shared. This automatically lessens the risk factor per head.
Working as a team allows each member to take more risk. They are more likely to put their head on the line as a team. This increases their vested interest to succeed.
Recent research shows, proper collaboration among teams leads to more projects that are successful and a higher ROI. Teamwork will allow your workforce to think outside the box.
5. Imbibes trust and increases cooperation
This is what it all boils down to. A good team is one where all members can trust one another. Teamwork only trust can facilitate teamwork among your employees. Small disagreements or conflicts of interest should not agitate the confidence at the workplace.
Trusting your fellow teammates is a tough thing to do, especially when you have the next promotion or appraisal in mind. However, your employees should be able to see the bigger picture. Open communication is necessary for the success of a team project.
No team thrives without trust and cooperation. A good team builds itself up from the ground and stays active in front of a challenge. This is a time-consuming process. You cannot hope to achieve it overnight. You can accelerate the process by giving it a gentle push in the form of team building activities.
Clichés like “there’s no I in team” are still true. However, gradually the scopes of maximizing personal benefit from teamwork are becoming larger. If your team performs better, your ROI automatically increases. This will require a little effort on your behalf as well. You need to understand how each employee functions and what his or her qualities are. In fact, take the time to learn from your employees and incorporate their role into each project. This will make them feel more responsible, command more involvement from each of them and increase the chances of the project’s success as a whole.