When Departments Work Together

No matter what the internal structure is, acquiring and retaining loyal customers need to be the number one goal of any organization.  With that in mind here are keys that I believe are necessary for success.

1. Strong, effective and ongoing communication of goals and expectations from the top down. It’s one thing to communicate goals—but employees also need to hear how achieving those goals will benefit them. Let them know what you expect, and how they will be rewarded by meeting those goals.

2.    The linkage between the business objectives, departmental objectives and their underlying KPIs need to be clearly identified, defined and measured.

3.    Guarding against insulating from other teams and departments.

4.    Robust project management systems that give everyone a view of what’s happening

5.    Frequent team meetings (teleconference, web-meetings, internal blogs, or face to face) to keep everyone within the organization on the same page. Use this time to report on the top goals.

1.    Every functional head needs to make cross functional activity part of every employees responsibilities. Encouraging and organizing cross-team and cross-boundary meetings at all levels, so that within and across lines of business, the whole corporate structure can take advantage of mutually known best practices to continue to do the best thing for the customer

2.    Setting time aside each month or so to create bridges between teams, or even create a cross-functional team, to share successes, breakthroughs, and new ideas.

3.    A close analysis of approval chains so that as many low value – added steps as possible – are eliminated and putting as much responsibility as possible at the most effective operating level.

4.    Ensuring every employee has received training and receives training on an ongoing basis to continue to grow and add value.

As for the silos within the organizations, it boils down to plain WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) thought process, the way organizations measure performance and the type of behaviors they encourage. Translate the “expected action” into an “incentivized action.

Focus on building bridges between the silos. While “organizational silos” is most often spoken as a negative term, it doesn’t have to be. Respecting and valuing structure while creating opportunities for leveraging the talent in organizations can be the single most effective thing that can be done to gain competitive advantage.

Employees want to understand organizational goals, because they want to come to work and make a difference. They want to affect the bottom line, and they want to see the organization succeed.