Functional silos, lack of collaboration & communication, departmental conflicts & rivalry; we all know about it & it’s often being spoken but do we know why this is created in the first place.
Apparently there could be many reasons; each organization may have different one; the root cause is lack of value assessment of other functions against our own and lack of alignment with corporate objectives.
Therefore if any organization has issues like blame game, politics, gossips and non-cooperation amongst different parts of the organization, it need to be fixed at the fundamental level where it originates.
Before looking for the solution approach let’s get deeper into identifying the root cause. Organization is a web of integrated functions. Every function is dependent on one or more other functions for its success. Equally every function is impacted by the actions or inaction’s of one or more other functions. One function’s output is another functions input. Yet, most of the times we find functions that are even dependent each other do not try to understand each other better.
The top 3 reasons why functions don’t collaborate with each other are ;
1. Conflicting priorities:
When two functions/team interact many a times we have come across one of them saying “that is not a priority for us”. It is right for every function to chase what is important to them.
To avoid this the inter dependencies & linkages need to be considered during the strategy & execution planning process. Each department need to support each other’s priorities only then the organization and in turn everyone will succeed.
2.Cross Functional Contribution to Business:
People seldom take interest in knowing more about other functions, their objectives, the goals & current year’s initiatives. In absence of proper knowledge about those functions people may consider their goals or initiatives not being important or relevant and conflict is created if one team try to push their agenda. Questions like why a particular department gets higher budget or why the leadership team focus more on another department spoils the collaboration spirit and creates enmity & rivalry leading to organizational politics.
3. Communication barriers:
Each function & domain has a set of terms and may have different work culture. It is quite likely that people from another function may not know about the jargon as well as the working style. The gap in understanding & communication not only delays the tasks but at times blame-game increases & further alienates teams from each other.
The best way to overcome these challenges is to have a robust strategy formulation process. Normally Corporate Strategy is set by the Owners or CxOs & Board approves it. Later it is cascaded to other functional leaders and managers asking the departments to build it further for their respective functions in independently. Instead all the functional heads and key team members should be part of strategy formulation as well as collectively define functional / departmental strategies. In modern digital organizations strategy is all encompassing process capturing ideas & inputs from any level within the company.
The benefits of engaging multiple level of employees into strategy formulation are ;
The indirect benefit is equally strong. Next level of leaders gets trained with on the job learning of business acumen-cross functional knowledge and big picture strategic thinking
The success of an organization depends not only on how well the strategies are defined but equally on how well those are executed in perfect harmony & collaboration amongst all functions. It creates a cohesive environment where people are willing to reach out to help each other and shout when they need help.
At In-Unison we have a unique and proven strategy formulation model that integrates key stakeholders across the business. Not just top leaders, functional heads and executives but engaging key team members across cross section of business & support functions have proven to create a healthy bonding and collaborative environment leading to effective execution & higher rate of success.