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Setting a Strategic Goal of Cross-Functional Collaboration

A mini case study – Part 3

Setting a Strategic Goal of Cross-Functional CollaborationRefer to Part 1 and Part 2 of this case study.

Breaking Down the Project into Mini Projects

Larger change initiatives – such as the one in this case study – are much more than simply one project. These larger initiatives must be broken down into a number of smaller projects in order to increase participation among stakeholders, increase the adoption rate of the change and enable for increased success overall of the project.

The Current Organization

Currently, the organization was not structured for cross-functional collaboration; much of the organization was silo’ed. Because of limited knowledge sharing across the organization, often mistakes were repeated and the same problems kept surfacing to be solved. The CEO commented that “we keep reinventing the wheel, and that is a problem as we continue to grow and try to serve the customers’ needs.”

Additionally, as the organization has grown, which has included merging with other organizations, processes and procedures have never been fully evaluated and refined. There is significant bottlenecks in a variety of areas as well as areas where processes are so dramatically different that it becomes an issue for employees moving around the organization.

The CEO and many others on the senior leadership team felt that some employees may be better deployed in the organization; in roles where they might better utilize their skills and continue to build their knowledge. By under-utilizing employees, senior leadership felt that they risked losing good talent who might become bored or disengaged in the organization.

The Project

The objective of the project – cross-functional and cross-geographical collaboration – was tremendous! This wasn’t a project that would be accomplished in a few months, maybe not even in a year’s time period. There were many other things that needed to be accomplished prior to this objective being realized. And that was the purpose of this second meeting – to determine what other initiatives needed to be completed prior to focusing on cross-functional and cross-geographical collaboration in the organization.

The Second Team Meeting

The second team meeting was attended by the:

There were a total of 20 participants who attended the three hour virtual meeting.

The goal of this second meeting was to understand how to best break down the project (into smaller initiatives) to meet the goal of cross-functional and cross-geographical collaboration.

In addition, by breaking down the change initiative into smaller initiatives, the organization would achieve the following benefits:

  • Quick wins (due to smaller initiatives being completed sooner and successfully)
  • Traction toward achieving the larger change (“we can do this!”)
  • Increased engagement of stakeholders throughout the organization
  • Better likelihood that the change will “stick” over time

Given the large group of attendees for a virtual meeting, it was essential that the meeting was well-facilitated to enable for participation by all. In order to accomplish this, a number of ground rules were established which included (but were not limited to):

  • Participation by “round robin” (individuals would be called on in turn to offer up ideas, concerns, etc.)
  • To respond to ideas, concerns, etc. – participants would be asked if there are any questions or additional information by region. Each speaker would state their name prior to speaking.
  • LISTEN! No interrupting others nor judging ideas and suggestions offered. Ask clarifying questions.

The CEO kicked off the meeting by again sharing his vision as well as thanking the participants for supporting the initiative. He also shared that the meeting would be focused on determining what needed to be done before accomplishing the goal of cross-functional collaboration.

Additional Projects to be Launched

The meeting was productive and determined that the following needed to be done prior to moving forward with launching the initiative of cross-functional collaboration.

  • Restructuring of the organization, redefining roles & responsibilities
  • Process improvement initiatives (workflow)
  • Process and procedures around: decision making, problem solving
  • Training: decision making, problem solving
  • Technology implementation (knowledge sharing)

Next steps were for the CEO, his senior leadership, Abudi Consulting Group as well as the project manager to get together and determine the best approach to move forward with launching these initiatives. Abudi Consulting Group would serve as the program manager to assist in keeping all projects moving forward.

In a future post, I’ll share more information about the results of this initiative.