The Benefit of Shared Goals Across Functions

The Benefit of Shared Goals Across Functions
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Shared Goals Across Functions Can Help Break Down Functional Silos
Traditionally, most employees are organized by expertise, department, or location to pursue isolated and specialized objectives — e.g., sales, marketing, finance, design, production, and so on. These functional silos can help to develop deep expertise, create cultural accountability, and provide a sense of team identity and belonging.  Functional silos can also present daunting roadblocks to achieving strategic objectives that require multiple disciplines to successfully execute.  This is where shared goals across functions can help break down functional silos.

The Problem with Organizational Silos
Unless designed and managed properly, organizational silos can limit organizational effectiveness due to inconsistent communication, misaligned priorities, and weak collaboration. For example, there’s an infamous story of two separate departments at Sony that worked on producing an identical electrical plug without realizing the other department was engaged in the same effort.

While this is an extreme example, employees without a common purpose make it challenging to coordinate efforts, allocate resources, and make decisions.  Especially if you are trying to execute a new strategy, you need the entire organization working together to make it happen.

3 Tips to Break Down Organizational Silos
Based upon organizational culture assessment data, here are three tips on how to promote a culture that encourages cross-functional employee connections that can spark innovation and strategic synergy.

  1. Create Strategic Objectives that Require Cross-Functional Collaboration to Accomplish
    First, people need to understand why they need each other to be successful from an individual, team, and organizational perspective.  While many strategic objectives can be accomplished in silos, most meaningful corporate growth strategies require multiple skills, judgments, and experiences to come to fruition. 

    If you want to break through organizational barriers, set strategic objectives that requires shared leadership and people across departments, functions, and lines of business to work together in order to succeed.  Then ensure that the strategic objectives trump individual department priorities in terms of importance, visibility, accountability, resource allocation, and rewards.
  2. Focus on the Big Picture
    Help employees see the line of sight between their contribution and what the organization is trying to accomplish.  Each worker should be able to articulate why their work matters and how what they do contributes to the overall success of each strategic initiative.

    You will know you are on the right path when each key stakeholder understands and agrees with the goals, priorities, roles, team norms, success metrics, processes, scope, decision making, handoffs, and interdependencies required to collectively succeed. 
  3. Build Relationships
    When individuals or groups cannot get along, it is difficult for organizations to perform at their peak.  Positive workplace relationships create higher levels of career satisfaction, productivity, and employee retention

Invest the time to build the trust, cultural transparency, and open communication required for individuals and teams to accept, understand, and appreciate each other.

The Bottom Line
When you break down organizational silos and create shared goals across functions, it is easier for everyone to embrace organizational change and innovate. And when people experience collective success, group morale and productivity soars.

To learn more about how to create shared goals across functions, download this research-backed Sample Team Charter Template

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