Connection, organisation, and innovation are the rewards of getting cross-functional collaboration right. Many successful tech companies like Atlassian and Netflix have used it to great effect as they move away from traditionally siloed departments.
But is it still possible now that you and your team are no longer within the walls of your office space?
In this article, we’ll look into what adjustments you can make and what tips you can use that will allow you to successfully collaborate at any distance, whether your team is working together or working from home.
Why cross-functional collaboration works
The benefits of cross-functional collaboration occur when groups of people that each have unique expertise work together towards a common goal. It is the classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
When teams from different departments collaborate, it creates a more holistic way of approaching projects that leads to greater perspectives and better outcomes. If you can come up with more innovative or out of the box solutions then you have a natural advantage over your competitors.
The top 5 cross-functional collaboration tips
1. Collaboration tech
It’s now possible to manage and connect with large teams of people via collaboration platforms like Slack and to share real time documents using the Google Docs suite and file storage on Google Drive. Make the most of them to simplify collaboration and boost your efficiency.
2. Promote diversity
One of the best ways to encourage new perspectives and generate true cross-functional collaboration is to select team members from different backgrounds. This helps ensure different ethnicities and genders are being brought into the mix as well as professional backgrounds. It will help promote new insights and a more diverse set of thoughts and skills. This is confirmed by studies that show that the more diverse teams are, the more effective they are in the decision making process as diverse teams can process information in a wider range of ways.
3. Prioritise transparency
You should look to make transparent communication a priority for team members. This is important because remote or diverse teams can face collaborative and communication challenges that can sometimes lead to confusion or mistakes being made. Understand that this is normal but can be alleviated by creating an open culture of transparency and smooth flow of communications. Set clear guidelines and create processes so everyone can access the information and resources they need.
4. Encourage knowledge sharing
For cross-functional projects to be successful, teams need to be able to get in touch with specialists for certain processes or to use particular tools. Encourage your team to get in touch with experts from within and outside the team that are willing to share their knowledge. Some people may be more used to working things out themselves but you should strongly encourage people to seek the assistance of those with the greatest expertise wherever possible. After all, sharing knowledge is the whole point of bringing together diverse sets of individuals together.
5. Centralise project communications
A highly effective way to keep remote teams focused on project goals is by using project management apps that facilitate communication in a central virtual location. These platforms are secure, often highly customisable, and give access control over all levels of information available to team members. Holding all meetings in a dedicated portal and centralising all communications fosters an environment of camaraderie and helps remote employees stay connected with one another.
6. Effective cross-functional teams are equipped with diverse perspectives and skill sets.
But in addition, for effective collaboration, organisations must encourage trust and accountability among all team members. By utilising the tips outlined above, you can help to overcome the limitations faced by remote or distributed teams and create a greater level of engagement and collaboration between team members to meet your next project goals.
To find out more about building the best cross-functional collaborative team, talk to FinXL.