How a Cross-Functional Team Can Help You Succeed
Cross-functional teams have proven to be extremely valuable, especially in times of crisis, when thinking out of the box is the key to saving a business. An organized group of experts from different fields comes up with brilliant solutions, and the figures talk in their favor too. In fact, 53% of organizations report achieving significant success with cross-functional teams.
But wait, there’s more. If you’re curious about building such a team, here are some more arguments why cross-functional teams are an excellent idea.
Increased team engagement & team spirit
We could discuss at length why team spirit and closer collaboration are important, but let’s just say it with a couple of figures. Over 50% of employees agree that collaboration is essential for their work, and 75% see teamwork and collaboration as crucial. Good teamwork can increase a company’s sales by 27%, and businesses promoting such values have five times better performance rates.
Now, let’s point out how cross-functional communication contributes to it. In traditional teams, a person, be it a team leader or a regular team member, does a lot of routine work. They’re mostly focused on their team, which means their vision is somewhat limited, or they can even be ignorant of other teams’ goals and needs. Take into account the fact that many people have been working remotely in recent years, and you’ll have another issue — remote working is also challenging for maintaining team spirit.
On the other hand, cross-functional teams make employees communicate more. Suddenly they have to rely on people they haven’t been in touch with before. Conversations occur, overall collaboration improves, and people really have the feeling they’re all contributing to the same goal. In different ways, yes, but still moving towards the common aim.
Teambuilding events are excellent means of connecting your team members. Still, when it comes to the daily building up of a team spirit, cross-functionality takes the win, especially in the long run.
Innovation and diversity booster
Diverse management can boost revenue by 19%, and cross-functional teams are diverse by their definition. You’ll have your HR, account manager, software developer, sales executive, or any other members from your distinctive teams working together in unity. Also, a cross-functional team may have professionals of different seniority, which is one more level of diversity. Overall, such a team consists of people with diverse backgrounds and fields of expertise working closely on a business project.
In addition, diversity encourages hearing various feedback and coming up with revolutionary ideas. Collaboration with different experts and getting to know their challenges open doors for new ideas and innovative approaches to problems. Moreover, these teams are hardly ever in danger of doing routine work or staying in their comfort zone for too long.
Communication and management skills improve
Cross-functionality is excellent for improving management or leadership abilities on multiple levels. Firstly, a team member finds themself in a challenging environment and has to work with different departments simultaneously. Moreover, when belonging to a cross-functional team, you’re becoming a leader of your own team, as they rely on you as their connection with the rest of the company.
Eventually, you’re resolving diverse issues and getting and receiving constructive feedback from people who aren’t necessarily experts in your field. This calls for more communication and clarification, inspiring understanding and compassion, which are prime features of modern 21st-century leaders.
This is perhaps one of the biggest advantages of cross-functional teams over traditional ones since business flexibility has proven crucial for survival. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly confirmed that businesses that couldn’t adapt to the new restrictions, remote work, and market demands failed miserably. On the other hand, those that adjusted their practices and services managed to survive and thrive.
How does cross-functionality increase a company’s adaptability to change and uncertainties? First of all, as these teams are diverse by nature, they are more creative in coming up with solutions for unexpected scenarios. Essentially, they’re already composed of people who had to adjust their ways of working and thinking to the group members and become more flexible, which reflects on the outcome too.
Secondly, cross-functional teams react faster. They successfully deal with new negative situations as the practice has shown such employees spend less time blaming others. They instead tend to respond more quickly to challenges than look for the culprit among themselves as usually there isn’t one (remember the pandemic once again). Such behavior stems from the excellent team spirit that cross-functional teams are famous for, which brings us back to the topic we already covered.
This is the fact that people often overlook when discussing cross-functionality despite its obvious financial consequences.
With traditional teams, you have teams or team leaders fighting, i.e., asking for resources for their teams with little regard for other teams or their immediate needs. Leaders and their teammates usually see the company as a provider of the tools they need to perform better, and the more they “grab” for themselves, the better.
However, in cross-functional teams, the work atmosphere is a lot different.As cross-functional team members can better understand the urgent needs of other departments, they’re extremely helpful in resource distribution decisions. This is great news because the fewer resources a company wastes, the bigger the working capital. When each department gets as many funds or resources as they need, there is zero money waste on unnecessary tools.
To sum things up, cross-functional teams have plenty of advantages that make them perfect for any company that wishes for more innovation and productivity in today’s (uncertain) market.