Cross functional collaboration is the defining difference between companies that meet expectations and those that exceed them. As your business grows, it’s nearly impossible to keep departments from developing their own systems and idiosyncrasies independent of one another. These differences aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they can be detrimental to achieving company-wide goals.
A commitment to cross functional collaboration starts at the top. Change won’t occur unless the leaders of each department unify and learn to collaborate well. One study found that a mere 25% of cross-functional teams are functional. There are many reasons unique teams may fail to effectively join together and meet company goals, but first and foremost it starts with a willingness to put aside preconceived notions and meet objectives as a united front.
The use and efficacy of collaboration tools is well-established as an underlying contributor to the success or failure of cross functional collaboration. Though there are many forms of collaboration, nothing will work if teams don’t have the means to communicate clearly. This is more likely to happen in our increasingly virtual environment if a company implements remote assist software in their communication portfolio.
The bigger your company gets, the more important it is to build cross functional collaboration into your company culture. It will keep multi-faceted projects from hitting expensive dead ends while fostering a greater sense of community amidst your employees. Don’t waste millions of dollars investing in an initiative that may be doomed to fail because teams can’t work together. Instead, consider what benchmarks your teams need to meet to be successful.
Cross functional collaboration is like a many-sided die. Of those sides, the three most influential are prior goal setting, establishment of priorities, and continuous evaluation. One huge issue is that different departments may not sit down prior to the start of a project. This allows them to identify both the budget and primary goals. It may seem obvious after the face, but getting a leader from each team into the same room and agreeing on timelines can be fraught with misunderstandings and futility.
Minor squabbles about different timeline expectations are best managed if the entire group has a sense of the top project priorities. Start from the main intentions and then work out the details. Don’t wait until it’s too late to establish expectations. Teams can politely keep each other accountable while pushing one another to complete tasks before deadlines.
Finally, leaders of each team should set up regular check-ins to evaluate project success and whether milestones are being met. Individual teams may operate differently, but no one should be falling behind. Rather than allowing minor problems to snowball, continuous evaluation lets everyone adapt depending on their changing knowledge.
Cross functional collaboration can include a variety of teams. For example, it could include technicians in the field working with a virtual expert or trainers interacting with trainees. It isn’t always high-level executives in marketing, product design, and manufacturing. For situations where the collaboration is teaching or advice-giving, the interpersonal dynamics can be more straightforward but less simple to implement. This is why tools such as remote assist software are so essential.
Help Lightning’s augmented reality tool is based on software that enables real-time virtual collaboration and lifelike cues. Remote assist software will allow teams in different physical locations to meet and work side-by-side. As if they were in the same room. The benefits of this tool include the ability to cut out travel time, interface nationally and internationally, and solve problems on demand.
Every company needs to establish how their employees can communicate best. But overcomplicating these communication avenues can get in the way. Instead, focus on ensuring that face-to-face communication takes priority. This helps teams feel more connected across departments and prevents people from hiding behind their screens. It’s much easier to relate to people whose facial expressions you can see.
As you launch your organization’s next great project, take a step back and evaluate how well your interconnected teams reach unified goals. Undoubtedly there will be plenty of changes to make. Improvements must come from the top down and require a concerted effort from leadership. Still, they represent an incredible opportunity that can boost productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
Take the first step of integrating remote assist software into your digital collaboration efforts. Reach out to the experts at Help Lightning.