Cross-team collaboration is a process that brings together groups from various work areas with different skills to find joint solutions to common problems and execute group goals.
Why managing cross-functional teams is important for growing a business?
Work has changed.
You cannot rely on conventional structures anymore.
There is more risk, novelty, disruption, and unpredictability.
Then, how can you create a framework that transcends the restrictions of traditional teams and helps you grow your business in times of uncertainty?
Cross-functional teams with freelancers are an excellent solution to your teamwork pains. Let’s take a deep dive into how to use cross-team collaboration to your advantage.
What is Cross-functional Collaboration?
Cross-functional teams collaborate between themselves in the scope of a larger organization to bring a joint goal to fruition.
It is common for employees to miss seeing the bigger picture and focus on the internal team goals. But that must not happen to a manager.
For example, when the cross-team collaboration is poor, there is often friction between sales and marketing teams.
Such friction results in sales decrease, fewer returning customers, lower conversion rates, and the inability to identify the bottlenecks that drain the resources.
It is the task of the manager to:
- Keep the team strings connected.
- Observe how individual team members, teams, and departments contribute to the organizational goals.
Effective cross-functional collaboration requires 100-percent dedication from you as a leader and resourceful conflict resolution skills.
If you have trouble taking a holistic perspective or if such perspective costs you more than expected, perhaps you haven’t considered flexible virtual teams.
Working on multiple projects asks from step up the game with your managerial skills. Quickly assembling and disassembling virtual teams, also called flash teams, can support you while scaling your business.
WATCH THE VIDEO TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FLASH TEAMS AND FLASH ORGANIZATIONS:
Teamwork vs. Collaboration: What Is the Difference?
You cannot run successful teamwork without collaboration. Both concepts are similar.
The only difference is that teamwork considers how individual members work towards a mutual goal while collaboration indicates a collective effort towards a shared goal.
- Those who collaborate can do so independently without a team leader.
- Employees that work as a part of a team will do their best under leadership and guidance.
This subtle difference can be even more complex when you have to manage many teams on many projects.
Lean and Mean Cross Team Collaboration Techniques
But it doesn’t have to — if you apply the following techniques, you will grow confident in how you manage any change or cross-team collaboration challenge.
1. Practice trust, tolerance, and awareness.
You have probably heard of the famous saying by Reinhold Niebuhr:
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Applied to cross-functional work, your roles as a leader comes down to these three pillars:
- Trust is about having the courage to change what needs to be changed.
- Tolerance is about the acceptance of powerlessness to always direct projects to your will.
- Awareness is about knowing the difference between the two.
Your primary role as a leader is to act by the principles of trust, tolerance, and awareness and set an example for your teams to follow.
LISTEN TO THE VIRTUAL FRONTIER PODCAST AND MASTER CROSS-TEAM COLLABORATION:
Here are three examples of cross-team collaboration in practice:
- Trust is earning your team’s loyalty by showing up consistently and acting upon promises.
- Tolerance is adjusting individual deadlines to match team deadlines.
- Awareness is knowing when to introduce or replace employees, teams, and departments.
A group becomes a team when members have established trust between them.
2. Align team goals.
It is normal to expect errors if you bring together people that don’t have a clue about what the other team is doing. For successful cross-team collaboration, team members must work on individual tasks but also on common goals. It is your job as a manager to align team goals, and, most importantly: don’t forget to share those goals with your team.
If you make this difference about common goals, you can create as many teams with as many people with multiple tasks and still stay on top of it all because you are certain how the individual merges into the collective.
3. Document everything.
Work documentation is a prerequisite on virtual teams because you can get lost in keeping track of a team spread across the globe and working in different time zones. Document as much as possible to have your data safe and to create a knowledge base.
Documentation is a surefire method for:
- Setting expectations.
- Clarifying misunderstandings in communication.
- Tracking goal progress.
Documentation of cross-team collaboration is a go-to resource for team members even when they use tens of different apps and technologies.
4. Assign owners.
A strong leadership role is a must. However, when you work cross-functionally, you cannot expect to show up at every corner and solve every problem. You have to delegate responsibilities and assign task owners and project owners.
An easy way to link ownership to tasks and teams is by designing workflow management systems. By creating workflows you:
- Keep every owner in the loop for task completion
- Develop a dynamic, self-sufficient process
- Manage time and budget
- Provide employees with tools
- Nurture a culture of collaboration
When teams are homogenous or collaborate for a long time, these cross-team collaboration techniques develop organically for team members. The problem is when you encounter a challenge that you need to solve fast. For that, you need commitment.
5. Require commitment.
Commitment is the glue that holds everything together.
Commitment is an agreement with oneself and others about the strong belief to create something that affirms personal and team significance.
Ask your many teams to commit to the collaboration techniques to ensure you have communicated everything properly.
Hiring global freelance talent can help your team to reap the benefits of cross-team collaboration with high-performance scores.
We can help you collaborate and grow by applying efficient teamwork principles, workflows, and rules before you know it.