First, let’s identify a few symptoms of cross-functional dysfunction:
a. Conflicting priorities: one part of the organization is developing work that is unimportant to one or more other areas.
b. Misaligned requirements: part of the organization thinks that elements of the change are critical while others don’t recognize the need.
c. Lack cooperation: part of the organization is attempting to accomplish work, but lacks progress because they are unable to gain commitment for help from another area.
d. Political positioning: lower level leaders advocate for their solution at a cost to others in the organization, and do it without considering this impact.
As a change sponsor, you are responsible for ensuring that your leadership team is clearly aligned with the expected outcomes of your change program. A few questions consider as you act to improve this alignment:
1. First, are you clearly explaining the expected outcomes from the change? Are you soliciting feedback from your team to shape and improve your vision? Are they engaged to help make it better?
2. Does your leadership team trust one another? Do they speak openly and candidly about things going on in their organizations, and in their personal lives? (Note on the latter, obviously, there is a level of propriety that must be maintained, but they should be talking freely with each other about weekend events, family outings, favorite past-times, etc.)
3. Do the engage in healthy conflict? Are they willing to challenge each other’s ideas without fear of reprisal?
4. Do they seek commitment across the team to follow through on actions? Do they agree on a single owner and date for delivery?
5. Are they holding one another accountable? Do they follow up to ask about progress? Are they delivering?
The best, most effective teams work across the table to behave as outlined above. They don’t wait for the “boss” to resolve conflicts, they do it themselves. They are not afraid to call out behavior that doesn’t align with the direction of the team, and they are willing to actively acknowledge when team members make progress.
Are you leading a team like this?
Dedicated to your profitable transformation,