8 Tips to Improve Cross Team Collaboration

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No matter the department, teams across a company feel more connected when there’s cross-team collaboration. When groups with diverse skills join forces, it multiplies innovation and success.

The success of your company comes from effective team collaboration. Each member has a specific role that affects the productivity of other team members. If a team is off track on a particular milestone, it can delay everyone else’s progress. Without a sense of collective team effort, staff members lose motivation to work and are prone to burnout.

High-performance organizations are 5.5x more likely to give incentives to teams with effective collaboration.

colleagues giving a fist bump

What is cross-team collaboration?

Cross-team collaboration doesn’t happen on its own. It is nurtured from a culture of communication and learning.

Cross-team collaboration or cross-functional collaboration is a group of people with different knowledge and abilities working together for a common goal. It’s an essential practice to avoid divisions or organizational silos.

For example, the marketing team can help the sales department attract new customers by creating promotional campaigns. At the same time, the quality assurance team can track the quality control of the products before releasing them to the public. Each of these employees’ talent is key to driving success for the company as a whole unit.

What are the benefits of cross-team collaboration?

Cross-team collaboration fosters strong relationships among teams who otherwise wouldn’t even have the chance to meet.

Creating a company culture that centers on collaboration benefits all levels of the organization. While each team has its own set of challenges, making time to resolve these problems can encourage employee engagement.

Here are the benefits of cross-team collaboration:

  • Develop leadership skills – Cross-team collaborations allow individual employees to lead a project. Each employee has the chance to showcase their talents and inspire others to adapt their management style.
  • Conflict resolution – When teams explore opposing ideas together, everyone can think of optimal solutions to address a problem or innovate better products.
  • Increased employee engagement – Teamwork enhances each member’s interrelationship skills and creates trusting relationships. Employees feel more motivated when they take ownership of their contributions.
  • Knowledge sharing and innovation – Learning new productive habits from other members strengthens and broadens everyone’s perspective. It encourages ideas to flow naturally, making it easier to develop new concepts and device improvements.
  • Enhance relationship management skills – A good working relationship with everyone in the company cultivates a collaborative environment. It also increases employee satisfaction by 50% when workers have close relationships.

It’s overwhelming to build a team with different department cultures. But once they understand and value their purpose, it becomes easy to work together.

Tips to improve cross team collaboration in your workplace

Collaborating with different teams with varying backgrounds and experiences challenges team hierarchy. Team members working in the same department led by the same people, tackle the same problems repeatedly. Naturally, they often overlook the same mistakes and may miss out on opportunities to work efficiently.

Cross-team collaboration can fail if a company lacks a systematic approach. So if you want to integrate this type of collectiveness with your colleagues, each member should govern themselves accordingly. Their self-leadership traits can become contagious to others.

But how can you enhance cross-functional team collaboration at work?

Go over these eight tips to improve cross-team collaboration.

1. Establish a culture of collaboration

Teams that understand and appreciate the culture of collaboration have improved productivity and interpersonal skills. Although some managers only see collaboration as admirable behavior, leaders know that this shared bond is attainable.

Through teamwork, employees can take advantage of knowledge sharing. If team members can bring their expertise to the table, everyone can teach each other new skills and elevate the company.

Some cross-functional teams use collaboration software like Slack and Fuze to interact with each other in one place. You may incorporate other collaboration tools but ensure that you orient team members on how to use them.

2. Choose the right team leaders and get their support

Team leaders can make or break a team. So identifying potential leaders that complement their role can help every team member succeed in one environment.

A good leader must be the visionary of the team. They can lead their members in achieving greatness and success. 

Cross-functional teams have a team leader that inspires them to take on challenging journeys together as a unit. They display genuine interest in the growth of their team. This type of commitment gains the trust of team members. So if a team leader is ineffective, they can’t get their team’s support.

3. Communicate in one place

Team communication impacts the success of a company. 

Different teams use varying collaboration tools to get the job done. For example, the sales team may have another technology to communicate with, while marketing teams may use a different one. Although this strategy is okay, tracking progress and various projects can pose challenges.

Consolidating communication channels can improve collaboration among teams and simplify the allocation of resources. Most especially when companies have remote teams, it’s essential to communicate in one place.

4. Identify your goals and share them with everyone

Goal setting is vital to every company, while team goals can bring people closer.

Setting goals together improves job performance and helps each team meet its goals. It drives company success as it furthers employee growth and development.

Effective cross-team collaborations require everyone to be on the same page and go in the same direction. It’s much easier to collaborate when everyone knows their goals and responsibilities.

When managing teams, start a virtual team-building activity that includes sharing their experiences and challenges they face in the workplace. By collecting group input, it’s easier to find solutions and set collective goals and objectives.

5. Have clear and efficient meetings

Team meetings allow teams to talk about issues, solutions, and company updates. A large company with remote teams needs to consider the time difference between countries.

Unnecessary meetings take away employee productivity.

It’s essential to have a brief and precise meeting that sticks with the agenda. Ensure that all teams align their schedules with team leaders to avoid conflicting rosters.

6. Measure the impact of your cross-team collaboration

A diversified collaboration is vitally crucial for a company to succeed. They make sure that internal operations are running smoothly.

But how do you measure the success rate of cross-functional collaboration?

Since cross-functional teams belong to various departments, it’s vital to establish project milestones to collaborate effectively. Being result-oriented doesn’t track real-time progress and operational frictions. Instead, focusing on the process by creating milestones can lead to effective project management.

Milestones help project managers measure progress at each stage of a project.

7. Identify existing problems and create an action plan

Collaboration comes naturally to humans, but the ability to collaborate effectively takes time. Many people don’t blend well with others. For that reason, problems can surface.

Collaborative dysfunction can occur when there’s distrust, competitive leaders, and a lack of employee accountability. When teams can’t cooperate with each other, it can result in lost revenue.

One solution doesn’t fit all existing problems. It’s important to consult each department manager and create an action plan to address team issues. Some companies conduct annual team-building activities to enable employees to connect outside the work environment.

8. Reward cross team collaboration

People respond well to rewards and recognition. Reward teams that perform well and produce quality output.

To improve cross-functional collaboration, track team progress through KPI  (key performance indicators). It provides data that measures employee success in meeting desired objectives. 

Some companies use collaborative tools to evaluate staff accomplishments and execution.

Some teams may have learning curves, but there’s always room for improvement. Learning from failed projects can build stronger teams.

Conclusion

The success of a business or a project relies on successful cross-team collaboration. But some staff may not get along with others.

There are some strategies to address collaborative shortcomings by making it a priority to encourage diverse teams to interact with each other.

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