Brad Power talks cross-functional success with tips for encouraging collaboration

How to Help Process Owners Succeed - Brad Power - The Conversation

Brad Power with the Lean Enterprise Institute offers six terrific tips on bringing teams together to help encourage end-to-end thinking and beat silos. Of note:

Help employees get comfortable thinking in terms of end-to-end activities that together generate value to customers. Encourage cross-departmental activities that solve customer problems, and reward cross-departmental teamwork.

In reviewing the progress of its reengineering initiative, an insurance company shifted from traditional town hall meetings organized by department, to cross-departmental meetings led jointly by the leaders of two departments. The meetings trumpeted successes such as a reduction in customer service inquiries, the teamwork for which cut across a half-dozen departments.

A key to driving toward this sort of integrative approach to delivering customer value is simple, bull-headed persistence. It takes time and attention to steer teams in a new direction, not at all unlike a u-turn in a battleship. But it can be done. In addition to Power's tips around accountability and authority (both instrumental), consider process performance milestones as key indicators for success early on. For example, it might be difficult to track successful outcomes of your first month of cross-departmental meetings. But the simple fact that you held cross-departmental meetings for a month can be reason to celebrate!