Building and retaining cross-department relationships can positively impact large scale projects that affect more than one department in an organization.
Businesses consist of many different departments who, as a collective whole, create organizational success or failure. How these departments work together can determine the long-term outcome for the organization. Everyone shares in a rewarding outcome when multiple departments work together to achieve a goal. This type of success will create an organizational culture that will spill on to future projects.
When individual departments choose to create silos instead of working with other business partners, the results can spell disaster. The lack of expertise on a project can set the tone and leave a project in disarray. It can also have a negative impact on the success of future projects. Organizational leadership, even at the mid-level, should have an understanding of the power in creating effective cross-departmental teams on organizational projects. Leaders should review the list of recommendations below on how to create successful cross-departmental relationships.
Creating Cross-Department Relationships
– Build business rapport before beginning a project
– Bring the team together at the beginning and not mid-project
– Understand what each department can contribute
– Use good communication skills both written and verbal
– Breakdown any previous silos
– Acknowledge the expertise of others
– Have a project manager to guide the process
– Leverage technology to create effective communication streams
– Leave personal egos out of the equation
– Know who on the team can effectively communicate with other departments
Celebrate success at the end of a project
It may not always be easy to get departments to collaborate on a project. There can be past baggage from strained relationships, lack of trust on one side of the project, or some other previous interaction that weighs in on the relationship. Selecting staff for a project can be a critical element in the project’s success. Listed below are some indicators of employees who may have better success than their peers when participating in a cross-departmental project.
Employees Who Work Best on Teams
– Open minded
– Willing to compromise
– Positive attitude
– Problem solver
– Uses logic when determining a position
– Has established prior relationships with other departments
– Effective communicator
– Willing to compromise to move forward to a decision
– Positive attitude
– Listens to others’ positions
– Limits playing devil’s advocate
Not every project created will be successful. There may be times when a project lacks substance, funding, or some other attribute that can cause its demise. Just as a leader can control these elements of a project, a leader can also control the make-up of a team. Creating a team of employees who want to see the project succeed and work well with others will give a project the best chance for success.
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