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6 Ways to Improve Cross-Functional Team Capabilities

Majority of the cross-functional teams are “dysfunctional,” opines Behnam Tabrizi, consulting professor at Stanford University’s Department of Management Science and Engineering. Due to digital transformation, organizations are increasingly dedicating resources from various departments to a single project. The business leaders think this breaks the silos and, ultimately, the threat to innovative culture. However, as per a recent study, 75 percent of cross-functional teams are unable to meet three of their major commitments—budget, schedule, client requirements, customer relationship, and alignment with organizational goals. In this article at the Enterprisers Project, Stephanie Overby talks about the 6 ways in which you can improve cross-functional team capabilities.

Cross-Functional Team Woes and Remedies

Tabrizi says that though you allocate individuals to cross-functional teams, their loyalty stays back with the functional team. This creates a sense of unfamiliarity and awkwardness in the teams. Since businesses will create more cross-functional teams in the future, you must improve the culture with the following tips.

  1. Allocate IT Employees That Understand Business Too: Allocating IT resources that understand the nuances of business helps to create a positive team culture. They will align the team with your company strategy as well as earn respect from members of other departments.
  2. Establish Governance: CIO must build a central governance committee to overlook the activities of cross-functional teams. This will stop departments from creating more teams than needed and cause a resource deficit in the end. The governance body will ensure appropriate resource allocation to existing projects as well as those in the pipeline.
  3. Enable Them to Take Ownership: Members of a cross-functional team usually do not have the authority to make decisions on their own. They are caught between two teams, double-checking with functional heads and running back to confirm authorization. Provide them the authority to take ownership of their functions to prevent performance downtime.
  4. Form Escalation Point of Contact: The cross-functional team members find themselves trapped as there are no formal escalation procedures set up to address their grievances. They report the issue to their functional heads. When it finally comes back to the actual team, the simple issue causes frictions among members. You can either clearly define an escalation procedure or empower the governance body to address such issues.
  5. Involve Everyone: Often, IT department gets invited last. This can be a source of contention later. To avoid compounding unnecessary complexities, invite and involve everyone as a team.
  6. Acknowledge Performances: When a member of your team works for a cross-functional team, consult the lead to understand their performance. This helps you to acknowledge and appreciate department members who extend their capabilities to other teams as well. The company too benefits from such efforts.

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Indrani Roy

Indrani Roy is currently working as a Content Specialist for CAI Info India. She has knowledge in writing blogs, product descriptions, brand information, and coming up with new marketing concepts. Indrani has also transcribed, subtitled, edited, and proofread various Hollywood movies, TV series, documentaries, etc., and performed audio fidelity checks. She started her career by articulating a knowledge base for an IT client, and, eventually, went on to create user manuals and generate content for a software dashboard. Writing being one of her passions, reading books is naturally her favorite pastime. When not lost in the world of letters, she is a foodie, movie buff, and a theater critic.

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