Considering the evolving organizational challenges, there is need for professionals to improve collaboration between departments as this will assist in getting the best result when it comes to the required development. Collaborating between departments is more than just cooperating with other teams.
It involves cultivating a shared vision, mutual respect, and in-depth understanding of each other’s roles. Each department strives for a common goal of achieving excellent business outcomes and outstanding customer experience.
So, as a leader or entrepreneur who needs to keep an improved collaboration between the many departments and employees in your establishment, the truth is you will have to keep up with many of the simple steps that will be outlined in this content. Here are the simple steps to take in order to improve collaboration between departments. Take your time with them one after the other:
Open Up to Room for Mental Freedom and Safety
For instance, in its quest to build the perfect team, Google directed its vast resources toward determining some of the defining characteristics that reliably separate high-performing teams from the rest.
The results of that effort found that performance often had much less to do with the members’ previous accomplishments, their relative levels of introversion or extroversion, seniority level, or alma mater than expected. In many of the highest-performing teams, a strong degree of psychological safety as a shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking, existed.
It can be common for members of one department to assume a position of absolute authority on a specific topic, but unchecked, that authority can become a weakness. The outside perspective of a non-expert can often provide some priceless insights.
Having a mutual understanding between departments can make collaboration smoother and more effective. Encourage teams to walk a day in the other’s shoes and see the challenges of other departments from a different perspective. Help employees understand the constraints and challenges faced by teams from different departments.
Cultivate a sense of curiosity to help them learn about each other’s work and even come up with ideas of how one team can improve their process to help other teams become more effective. It’s important to encourage a culture of mindfulness in which team members keep their personal emotions in check so they can relate to their co-workers in a positive and productive manner.
Equip Your Staff with the Right Skillset
You may encounter a situation where you have already established communicative company culture, but some team members still lack those habits that can help them merge. Managers can initiate training programs to fill these skill gaps and make a notable difference in team performance.
Their training modules include teamwork, Emotional Intelligence, and networking. They also train employees to communicate the firm’s strategy and build healthy partnerships.
Be Happy for Each Other Members of the Team
Celebrating wins and acknowledging each other’s roles in the success of a milestone or project helps cultivate trust and respect among team members from different departments. Don’t limit your celebration to the completion of a big project. Set milestones and make it a habit to celebrate small wins.
Small wins help sustain momentum and motivation while breaking down barriers and silo walls. It feels good to win, and if winning requires interdepartmental collaboration, then such acknowledgment will provide positive reinforcement for future work together. Celebrations don’t have to be elaborate. A company-sponsored happy hour or catered lunch are great options.
Make Sure to Get Involved in What Other Departments Regard
Imagine a creative team spending two months to come up with an elaborate design only to have the marketing folks tell them that it’s not reflecting the strategic direction of the brand; or the information architects taking weeks to refine a series of user experience only to find out from the tech folks that the backend does not support certain critical functions.
These scenarios are not only infuriating and demoralizing for the individual team members but can also impact the timeline and budget of the entire project. Unnecessary frustrations can be avoided if teams are involved in the other departments’ processes while a project is underway to ensure that the solution proposed by one team is in alignment with the overall strategic vision and can be supported by the capability of other departments.
As project managers, we can foster such collaboration between departments by scheduling formal team check-ins, interdepartmental reviews as well as encouraging informal touch-base among team members. Don’t forget to clearly communicate the outcomes and action items from team meetings to the entire staff involved in a project so everybody is on the same page. Consistent and constructive communications can help avoid finger pointing and blame game further down the road.
Provide Executive Support
Employees look up to their higher-ups in the organization to lead by example. When the firm’s top executives invest time and effort in building social relationships, it becomes the DNA of the company culture. Therefore, it is essential for executives to demonstrate collaborative and interactive behavior to ensure it is followed throughout the firm.
Be Transparent in Conveying Goals and Vision
One of the most critical responsibilities of a decision-maker is to convey the firm’s goals and objectives with the utmost transparency. If you expect your cross-functional team to work cohesively, you must periodically educate them about the goals and vision. When your workforce is aware of how their work adds value, they are more likely to take the initiative. This will gradually increase communication, improve collaboration between departments and maintain the flow of data.
Define Your Choice Communication Methods
Encouragingeffective communication between departments is only half the battle won. The real task is standardizing communication procedures and helping everyone know when and how to communicate. Before the project’s onset, managers must define the communication channels and processes to be followed.
- Specifying when to use the synchronous or asynchronous mode of communication.
- Communication etiquette is to be followed by the resources when engaging in cross-functional communication.
- Team collaboration tools or apps to be equipped to allow the smooth exchange of information.
- Concerned authority to be addressed and contacted in case of any pressing matter or escalation.
Ways Improve Collaboration Between Departments
Autonomy refers to the ability of team members to make decisions and take actions independently, within the scope of their responsibilities. This means trusting team members to work on their tasks without constant micromanagement. It allows individuals to showcase their expertise and take ownership of their work, which can lead to increased motivation and better results.
Cooperation is the foundation of collaborative teams. It involves team members working together towards a common goal. This means sharing information, resources, and ideas, and being willing to help one another. Effective cooperation can lead to a synergy where the collective output is greater than the sum of individual contributions.
Mutual Trust & Respect
Trust and respect are crucial for a collaborative team to function effectively. Team members need to trust that their colleagues will deliver on their commitments and respect each other’s opinions and contributions. This will help create a positive work environment, reduce conflicts, and foster better collaboration.
Accountability ensures that team members are responsible for their actions, commitments, and outcomes. When team members are held accountable for their work, it promotes a sense of ownership and ensures that tasks are completed on time and to the required quality standards.
Effective communication is the glue that holds a collaborative team together. It involves both verbal and non-verbal interactions, as well as active listening. Clear and open communication will ensures that team members are on the same page, understand each other’s needs and concerns, and can coordinate their efforts effectively.