Anyone who has worked on a project that involved leaders from multiple departments or functions knows how quickly progress and productivity can come to a halt.
When various staff across different departments and locations are focusing on inconsistent requests and tasks from various leaders, the process can become messy, counterproductive and cumbersome. This lack of collaboration can hinder the execution of your product or service and ultimately impact your profit.
How can you tell if your company has a collaboration problem? Here are three key symptoms.
1. Misaligned Goals
The marketing director and sales director often find themselves at odds regarding what metrics they use to measure success. If the marketing director is tasked with boosting brand awareness and engagement, he’s going to put a greater emphasis on the things that show results for him, such as producing and sharing a popular video.
Your sales director may not see the value of this at all because she’s more concerned about promoting the upcoming trade show, which she believes is more likely to yield a list of potential customers.
Each needs help from the other to achieve their goals, but they’re going to give first priority to the things for which they are being held accountable. If both are pushing conflicting priorities, it’s difficult for team members to understand where they should be devoting their time and energy. Focus on establishing clear, common goals and prioritizing them for everyone so there’s no confusion about how much attention each one deserves.
2. Too Many Chiefs
It’s a good thing when everyone involved feels pride and personal ownership of a project. However, when anyone with a voice is trying to direct the progress of the work, you end up with confused employees. Clearly defining roles and who the decision-makers are will keep your staff productive and move important processes forward. Employees need to know where to direct questions, ideas and issues, from whom to receive direction and how to solve problems. You also need to clarify who needs to give input and who will have ultimate approval on key items.
3. Poor Quality Decisions
Does your team find itself backtracking on a decision or worse, calling in the legal department to fix a mess that could have been avoided if only they had been consulted in the first place?
Poor decision-making, lack of buy-in from key stakeholders and general confusion can all indicate a larger underlying problem. If a key department or perspective is being left out of the decision making process, a lack of buy-in is only the beginning. Your company could land itself in serious trouble if it failed to consider something that’s essential for your team to do its job.
These are just a few signs your departments are not fully working together.
If any of these issues sound familiar, your company could benefit from our upcoming webinar, “Breaking Down Boundaries: Achieving Results By Improving Collaboration.”
This free, 30-minute webinar, scheduled for 1 p.m. May 14, will assist executives and department managers in achieving the most effective collaboration across your business. We’ll cover the challenges of working effectively across departments, how to clarify responsibilities and expectations within a cross-functional team, and how to influence people who don’t directly report to you.
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