Support Cross-Functional Teamwork for Business Change - dummies

Support Cross-Functional Teamwork for Business Change

By Christina Tangora Schlachter, Terry H. Hildebrandt, MA, MA, PCC

One of the best things about having a diverse change team that supports cross-functional work is that the team will help drive buy-in throughout the organization because the team members come from various stakeholder groups and have credibility with their “home” team. Cross-functional teams include individuals from the different areas that will be impacted by the change.

Cross-functional teams were the hot thing back in the 1990s when people started bragging about how they were so matrixed and dotted-lined into someone else. Today’s cross-functional teams dealing with change need to up the ante a bit. Here’s how you can support cross-functional teamwork during change:

  • Encourage self-direction. Organizational charts are great, but if you pick the right people and have a well-thought-out plan and a clear vision, the team can start deciding what to do to reach its goals. Your role as a change leader should focus on where the team needs to go; let the team decide how to get there.

  • Recruit leaders who facilitate discussion, ideas, and options. Cross-functional teams that quickly fizzle out are led by imposing leaders who micromanage every line on their fancy Gantt chart.

  • Allow cross-functional teams to be diverse. Novice change leaders tend to pick people just like them to work on the team. Don’t make this mistake. It takes all types of people to make change happen, so select people to work on your team who have skills you may not have. Balance out strong data- and project-management employees with individuals who connect well with people and emotions.

  • Know that the team members weren’t born yesterday. You picked these team members because of their track record, so let their past experiences shine. Give team members enough opportunity to share their past experiences and incorporate these personal lessons learned into the project and communication plan.