Optimizing cross-functional cooperation, releasing growth potential
In many companies, the different departments don´t really cooperate – rather, they work alongside each other and, sometimes, even against each other. This leads to delayed decision-making and slower processes, frustration, unnecessary discussions and conflicting signals sent to the market and customers. To sum up, problems involving cross-functional cooperation weaken a company´s competitive position and strangle its growth.
To eliminate these barriers, 1-2 day workshops with the people concerned have proved highly-effective in business practice. If the departments are big, representatives have to be selected who will speak for their colleagues. Per workshop, no more than 3 different departments should be represented, otherwise it may be difficult to manage complexity and to reach a consensus.
The workshop includes the following steps:
- First, people define how they perceive their department´s role in the company. In that context, a particular focus should be on how their department contributes to the organization´s value-creation process and to business success.
- Now the representatives of each department describe how they see the role of the other departments and how these, in their opinion, contribute to creating value and business success.
- In the third step, each department defines where it sees the ´critical´ areas in cross- functional cooperation and develops proposals for improvement.
- Lastly, the results will be presented to the plenum and solutions will be developed which are fully backed by all those involved and suitable to substantially improve future cross- functional cooperation.
Besides a clearly-structured approach, successful management of the group dynamics – which is always present – is the key success factor: Even though there may be tension among departments, all those participating should have a positive attitude and be prepared to interact with their colleagues in a constructive and solution-oriented way.