When I was a business executive working up the ranks, I found that I could fairly easily change what I controlled. But cross-functional initiatives were more difficult and frustrating, with too many worthless meetings, too many consultants, and too many opinion-makers instead of decision-makers. Often this led to trying to implement major changes through brute force, and this often had high political costs.
As a business transformation consulting firm, without organizational power, we had to help clients do things differently. This led to successful leaders reinventing how cross-functional project planning, team building, psychometric instruments, change management, and project management could work. Instead of looking at these activities as separate, they were able to make important cross-functional changes without all the nonsense that I experienced when I was a manager.
What can be won and lost:
The best leaders know that operating in and changing functional silos are relatively easy, but that making significant cross-functional changes is much harder and requires a different approach. The old way, with brute force, cross-functional initiatives are frustrating and wasteful, with slow decision making, unclear priorities, weak team integration, poor change management, and disjointed project management. Reinvented, major initiatives can be successfully planned and implemented in less time and with less effort. The only thing that increases is the fun factor, because being part of a winning initiative is a lot of fun.
Three main thoughts:
- Treating cross-functional initiatives like siloed projects can waste a lot of time
- Symptoms are: too many meetings, consultants, and people involved
- There is a proven way to transcend these problems
Call to action:
If a particular cross-functional initiative is taking too much of your time without a corresponding benefit in tangible progress, I would love to talk to you about what we’ve learned and how this may be able to help you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at www.cnsqnt.com.