The multidimensional dynamics of cross-functional collaboration

A common theme runs through every project we work on.  Since 1993, Strategic Perspectives has introduced successful change in companies that depend on technology.  We've worked with Information Technology, Research and Development, and Product Development organizations, and the company as a whole.  Our clients have ranged from small businesses with 10 people to Fortune 100 companies; have included manufacturers, service providers, and government contractors; and have spanned many industries.  

But, despite the diversity of clients, the issues we addressed and the opportunities we implemented refused to remain constrained within the organizational boundaries.  Not surprised?  Neither are we.  Nearly every productivity increase, every efficiency gained, and every conflict resolved has a cross-organizational or cross-functional component.

What IS surprising is that few consultants - external or internal to a company - truly emphasize the multidimensional dynamics of cross-functional collaboration.  Some see your organization through a "process" lens.  Others recognize the human side and emphasize relationships, or address the cultural context.  Still others focus on communication channels, or informal organizational structure, or collaboration technology and tools, or team dynamics, or some other aspect of an organization.

All of these are important.  And some others.  Strategic Perspectives pays attention to all of these perspectives AND how they interplay to uniquely represent your organization and it's strategic interactions with other organizations and stakeholders.  Here are some things you can do to assure your organization emphasizes the many aspects of working together cross-functionally:

  • When making decisions that affect multiple organizations, consider the cultural differences between them and, if necessary, either adjust plans or undertake a change initiative.
  • Involve people from all the organizations affected when implementing process changes that cross organizational boundaries.
  • Fit your organizational structure to your processes and the communication channels people actually use, not the other way around.
  • Train all leaders in the multiple dimensions of cross-organizational collaboration. Strategic Perspectives will do a free scan of training plans and suggest areas you or your potential training vendor may have missed.

See the sidebar for some additional suggestions.  And don't forget to call us when you need help.

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More ways to keep your cross-organizational system balanced