We will start by defining a cross-functional team. It is an alliance of people in an organization.
In this alliance, all the people have different expertise. They all have their respective fields of work.
But they have one thing in common. Their goal is the same. They all work in an integrated way to achieve the same common goal.
What will I learn?
When people of different departments interact with each other, it might create problems.
You might be thinking of a solution to the cross-functional team. The cross-functional team can help you out.
What Is A Cross-Functional Team – Drawbacks, And Solution:
In this article, we will be discussing all aspects of the cross-functional team.
We will be discussing the cross-functional team. What are a cross-functional team and how they can help you in the growth of your business?
1. A Common Example Of A Cross-Functional Team:
Let’s clear the concept of a cross-functional team with a simple example. Imagine an office that has to form a marketing plan.
In a traditional office, the advertising department will do this task.
Suppose that all the departments in the organization take part in planning a marketing strategy.
All the people irrespective of their department will take part in the making of this plan. Such an integrated team is called a cross-functional team.
2. Similar To Teamwork:
Think of the time when you were assigned a project in your college. Your instructor made a team and asked you to work with the team.
Have you ever thought of the reason? Yes, it was because they wanted you to learn teamwork.
Maybe you could do it all alone. But remember when you forgot an important point and your friend reminded you. This is the benefit of a cross-functional team.
When you have to complete a project, you may need to work in a team. When all the people in the team belong to diverse backgrounds it increases work efficiency.
All the people will give different opinions. These opinions are the result of their work experience.
So, the final solution comes out to be creative and innovative.
See Also: 8 Ways How Teamwork Improves Performance
3. Small Companies Having A Cross-Functional Team:
What companies usually employ this mechanism of working? Usually small businesses or start-ups who have just started working.
Their company consists of a small team. These few members are all in all. There is no space for working separately. Rather than a limitation, it proves to be more beneficial.
Whenever there is a meeting all the members of the organization take part. They all give their opinions and ideas.
The decision-maker also gets diverse viewpoints. It helps him to analyze the solution from different perspectives. As a result, a revolutionary and ingenious solution is found.
4. Larger Companies Having A Cross-Functional Team:
Many larger companies are also found on the idea of a cross-functional team. They have separated departments.
All the managers of different departments are given instructions to fan out their findings. This keeps all the departments coordinated.
All the departments of the organizations have the uniformity of information. Their decisions are also unanimous.
It also further reduces inter-department conflicts in organizations. All the people in the organization work on the same goal.
They all have the same objective. That objective is the successful growth of their organization.
All their efforts are channelized towards making their organization stand out.
5. Coordination In A Cross-Functional Team:
How cross-functional teams help in the coordination? Let’s have a look at a simple example.
Commonly, we call in an organization to ask for some information. Usually, they ask you to hold and dial another extension. This process continues until you find the relevant person.
It is because the information is not uniformly spread. Every department knows the questions relevant to their field. This is not a good sign for the success of an organization.
You can relate it by realizing your feelings at that time. When your call is transferred several times before you get to the concerned person.
6. Requirements Of A Cross-Functional Team:
What are the requirements for the success of a cross-functional team? Yes, you are right, a pronounced leader and an integrated team.
Such a team having an influential leader can make any project a success.
It is very important to have a guiding pillar in an organization. That guiding pillar makes sure that all persons are directed to achieve the same goal.
Otherwise, all the people will think of their own department only. Such an attitude is harmful to an organization.
A company should have a single goal. All the members should work on the same goal.
7. Drawbacks Of A Cross-Functional Team:
Where there are a lot of benefits from cross-functional teams. Few drawbacks are working in a cross-functional team.
We will list some of the most common ones. There are people from different ranks included in the team.
So, some people who are of higher rank try to establish their supremacy. This creates tension while working together.
They feel superior to others. They say that their contribution to teamwork is more important.
This has a demoralizing effect on the rest of the team. This attitude created conflicts in the team. It damages the solidarity of the whole team.
8. A solution to Cross-Functional Teams Problem:
There is a way to reduce this problem. Naturally, we work harder for incentives and rewards.
In a traditional company, there are individual incentives from the company.
Whichever employee does good work he gets the incentive for it? It is common in traditional companies.
While we work in a cross-functional team this is not suitable. Giving individual incentives will break the team solidarity. It is not a healthy activity in a team.
In a cross-functional team, we should offer the team incentives. When a team will achieve its target, it will get the reward for it. It will increase the overall efficiency of the team.
9. How To Get A Perfect Cross-Functional Team:
There is also another useful technique. All those individuals who learn new skills are given more incentives.
It also creates a healthy competition among the employees. It serves to create the team solidarity.
All team members want to learn new skills. It is only possible if they work as a team. They will acquire new skills by getting guidance from others. It is helpful for team integration.
All the team members coordinate with each other. They help each other and get help from others. Everything goes smoothly.
17 Benefits To Work In Cross-Functional Team
Moreover, different people have different work experiences. They all possess a different mindset.
A decision is always a success when it is dynamic. By dynamic, we mean it is multi-functional. That decision should cater to all the people.
A decision taken by people with diverse expertise is usually a dynamic one.
It is taken by considering different viewpoints. So, working in a cross-functional way can be of great benefit to your business.
Here we are going to discuss 17 benefits to work in cross-functional teams.
1. Common Goal:
Unlike traditional teams, these are temporary. They are usually formed for achieving a specific goal.
Once the goal is achieved, they are dissolved. In this way, these teams are more focused and targeted in their functioning.
They have to achieve their goal within the prescribed time.
All the people in the CFT is irrelevant to their department work with the same intention. These teams usually aim for high standards of achievement.
2. Necessary Elements Of A Cross-Functional Team:
Some necessary elements are required for the success of a cross-functional team. All the members should be willing to work as a team.
The team should be driven by an influential leader. There should be accountability for all.
No one should be given any privilege. The resources should be equally distributed.
There should be no communication gap among the members. All these elements can make any cross-functional team success.
3. Dynamic Changes:
Some companies require rapid changes from time to time. They are always evolving to be better.
They usually rely on a cross-functional team to get creative and innovative changes.
It makes teams with people of varied backgrounds. This helps them to keep pace with the changing market.
4. The Modern Model Of Working:
In past times when it was not common, companies usually rested on a traditional model. Suppose a company wants to launch a new product.
Firstly, a team will think of some innovative ideas. Then it will go through various departments. It includes the marketing department which checks for its market demand.
The sales department evaluates product pricing. And then finally the manufacturing unit which will make the product. This process is very time-consuming.
Each department takes it time to approve and pass on to the next. Usually, an idea becomes flop during this whole process.
It is much better to work in a coordinated environment. It will save us a lot of time.
People from different departments will be able to give their viewpoints and get feedback.
Quick and innovative decisions are the core benefit of a cross-functional team.
SEE ALSO: 8 Basic Women’s Rights in the Workplace
5. Choose The Best Members For A Cross-Functional Team:
While forming a cross-functional team some points should be kept in mind. The most important thing is the formation of a team.
What is required to form the best team? Choose the correct members for your team. Keep in view of what project you are gathering people.
Check all the requirements of the project. Make sure that all the selected members have the expertise to complete the project.
You should ascertain that all the members serve their function for the project.
The collective effort of all the people will result in the success of the project. Here is when you need people with different expertise.
Although it is not necessary for a cross-functional to have a leader. It is because these teams are usually self-directive.
All the members of the team know their functions. Also, they all work for the same goal. So, the chances of any conflict are reduced to a great extent. But it is very great to have a leader.
The leader should make everyone accountable. Also, he should try to maintain solidarity in the team.
He should give directions to all the people towards the same goal. An influential leader is a need for a cross-functional team.
Proper guidance and coordination can be very beneficial for the whole team. And a leader has the quality to keep a balance between the two.
See Also: What is Affiliative Leadership – Definition And Types
7. Proper Plan:
The team should always have a plan before it. No one can get to the road of success without a proper plan.
We should define the time limit and resource allocation for each task. Also, the goal of the task should be defined.
All the members should work to get the same goal. Their activities should be coordinated and integrated.
Communication is what makes a difference. This element is very important to make any project a success. There should be no communication gap between team members.
It is very essential to keep things on the surface. All the members should remain in contact with each other.
There should be frequent communications to ensure everything is going fine. This is only possible when all the team members work in proper coordination with each other.
They should share every detail regarding the success of the project.
Also, there should be consultation with all the members from time to time.
The most important benefit of a cross-functional team is its better coordination. The decisions, in this case, have flexibility. They can be changed concerning the changing conditions.
All the team members should agree to the changing decisions. This gives it the advantage to adapt to the evolving conditions.
10. Quick Decisions:
Cross-functional teams can save you a lot of time. They are really quick in making decisions. Also, they reduce responding time.
Your customers can get quick answers to their queries. Adapting to the changing requirements is the prime benefit of it. These teams assess the needs of the people and design the required product.
The making time is very less. It makes it possible for them to create a lead in business. When there is no competitor it becomes easy to make a profit.
Do you want to be the pioneer in any business? These teams can help you out to get your objective.
11. Engagement Of Team:
It is required to maintain the engagement of all the members of the team. This is where a leader has to play its role.
Members may lose their interest after some time. But a leader can keep up their interest.
A leader should maintain an interactive communication between the members.
In this way, all the members will feel involved. Also, they will not lose their interest. This will maintain the team solidarity.
12. Synergetic Environment:
Most companies work in silos. They are not aware of what’s happening in the other department.
Often, they end up doing the same work. This causes serious difficulties. Just because everyone is working behind the veil of ignorance.
When all the people work in a team it creates a synergetic environment.
All the activities are coordinated. It helps in achieving the goal with more efficiency. It also serves to reduce the time in achieving that goal.
13. Different Skills:
It also helps everyone learn various skills. It is because all the people come with their different competencies.
Everyone works in the same environment. While working they learn from each other.
It is beneficial for the company and the individual as well. They also help each other in their work. Also, they increase their capabilities to work.
When all the people have worked for some time together it created solidarity. They feel more comfortable while working with each other.
It is because everyone is now able to help each other. It also helps in completing the tasks earlier with collective efforts.
14. Thinking Out Of Box:
In a traditional office, all the members work in isolation. They are not concerned with each other. Also, there is less communication between each other.
The same routine of coming to the office and starting to work. No one is concerned with anyone.
It is because everyone has to submit their work independently. It creates a sense of dissatisfaction among the employees.
They feel no engagement in their work. Their thinking capability out of the box is reduced. Their creative capabilities are also reduced.
When such teams are formed it creates engagement. All the employees now start to take an interest in their work.
They feel more connected. A factor of involvement is introduced. It creates a benefit for both the company and the individual.
15. Equal Chance To Lead:
It creates leadership skills in all the members. It allows everyone to taste what leadership is.
Everyone is given an equal chance to play his role as a leader. It helps to reveal who has enough capabilities to lead a team.
It also creates a healthy competition among the members. They now work better to prove themselves. It creates a beneficial working environment
16. Interest In Work:
Working as a team is always interesting. You always get to know new things.
Working alone can be boring instead. It will also lead to decreasing efficiency. In a team, we exchange new ideas and innovations.
We look out for new creative outputs. We work hard to prove ourselves.
It is human nature that we all want an appraisal. And when you are working as a team this feeling arouses.
You want your colleagues to notice you. You feel good when they appreciate you. To get this satisfaction you work with dedication.
17. More Benefit For Inexperienced:
A single person fails to produce that much output. Everyone has some inefficiencies.
No one is capable of everything. We might be good at one thing but not the other. And some others might be good at that thing.
So, it is better to take help from them. It will let us achieve our target. So, it’s good that we work in a team.
It always proves beneficial to share work. It will increase our efficiency. As well as it will reduce the time to achieve our target.
So, to create a useful cross-functional team it is important to create an online coordination room.
It is particularly helpful in the current era. We are living in a global world and everything is online now.
It would be convenient for all to keep coordination with each other and share details with each other. Also, task progress will be visible to all.
All will be able to track the milestones also. It will help in creating an efficient working system.
Different people with different skill sets will be able to contribute their part.
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Last Updated on 2 years by Shahzaib Arshad
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