Organizations turn to cross-functional teams for a variety of reasons. Almost everyone can agree that this type of collaboration is essential for innovation and business performance. By breaking down organizational silos, teams can pursue a goal more efficiently. Here are 11 reasons why you should use cross-functional teams.
Fresh perspectives can lead to “ah-ha” moments and truly innovative ideas for improvement. The more familiar one is with a situation, the more difficult it becomes to recognize inefficient workarounds that have been baked into processes. A new set of eyes is sometimes all it takes to achieve a breakthrough.
When there's a challenge that needs to be addressed in the organization, cross-functional collaboration is essential. Organizations are more successful at finding solutions when there are multiple people from different departments involved. More times than not, the challenge impacts other departments outside of your own.
Changing things up a bit is useful for its own sake. It gets people thinking differently and breaks monotonous daily routines. Employees can bring the enthusiasm and engagement they get from working on a team back to their own everyday role.
Cross-functional teams are valuable for the relationships they create and develop. When you run into an issue that requires inter-departmental collaboration, you’ll be glad those relationships already exist. People are willing to go the extra mile to help their peers.
People don’t evolve into leaders overnight. Leadership skills are developed with use, and cross-functional teams are a great practice facility. Instead of just a few leaders, signified by their place on the org chart, you get many people at all levels who are empowered to exercise leadership in small doses.
Learning about the work of others in the organization helps employees understand the larger picture and get a feel for how their own efforts impact everyone else. When company, department, team, and personal goals are aligned, everyone makes better decisions and progress happens more quickly.
Broad exposure to other departments may lead employees to explore other roles and how they might expand their own skills to advance within the organization. They provide an opportunity for team members to become ambassadors for their own role and part of the organization.
Cross-functional teams can often address problems more quickly because each member knows the most effective way to leverage the resources and avoid the blockers of their department. With each person navigating the waters of their own area and bringing in the right subject matter experts, projects maintain momentum.
Effective cross-functional teams rely on clear, concise, and constant communication. Team members can help build each other's communications skills by asking thoughtful questions and talking about how well information is flowing. Very few organizations couldn’t benefit from improved communication skills across the board.
You may wonder how conflict is an advantage. It isn’t in itself, but learning how to work through and resolve conflict in a constructive way certainly is. Because everyone has a different point of view, conflict is natural in cross-functional teams. That's a very good thing.
Any kind of team relies on each member to uphold their responsibilities. It is incumbent on the entire group to hold each other accountable for keeping promises. Peer pressure is real and effective. Many people are able to accept feedback from peers without becoming defensive or less confident.
Cross-functional teams are far more than a useful problem solving tool. They are also a valuable way to encourage employee development, give improvement work momentum, and strengthen the organization. Did we miss any benefits that your organization has enjoyed? If so, leave a comment, we’d love to read about it.