The barriers to effective cross-functional collaboration are not what they appear. Those who lead others in working seamlessly across the organization know what is required for success.

The frustrated professional who can’t connect colleagues across the business is often under the illusion that creating a seamless organization only requires that employees:

  • share objectives,
  • establish rules of conduct,
  • cascade decisions faster,
  • complete daily “who’s got what role?” exercises,
  • or wish senior leaders would get more aligned.

Believing that only the above activities are necessary for cross-functional teams to succeed signals danger: The mind will not take someone where their heart will not go.

Put another way: Assuming data or transactional activities will align the connected hearts of even rational adults is to commit to a misery of never realizing meaningful results.

The effective collaborative leader knows that while the above basics must be accomplished, a true synchronization of efforts only occurs when:

  • Fear is transcended by confidence.
  • Biases are dissolved by curiosity.
  • The compulsion to protect oneself is replaced by the desire to serve others.
  • Adversaries become allies.
  • Strangers become partners.

Differentiate yourself as a leader.

In your next cross-functional meeting, as others toil to align colleagues through endless, we’ll finally-get-the-right-process discussions, remember: Aligning groups is much more than a rational exercise.

It’s the business of the heart. It’s about being the humans we all want to be. And can be.

Deeply aligning any group of people is about creating human connections before and while addressing the content on power point slides, spreadsheets or project plans.

(Not so) ironically, others will say “we don’t have time to connect” while they waste massive hours slogging as a suboptimized group destined to miss more milestones.

That’s why on Monday, March 18, at 1:00 p.m. ET I’ll be facilitating a Pathways to Leadership Activation Session, titled How to Move from Deficient Cross-functionality to Thriving Seamlessly.

The free, 59-minute, virtual workshop is open to collaborative leaders committed to mobilizing connected hearts and minds across the enterprise. You can register here. (If you can attend, we’ll send you the recording to listen to on your next commute.)

Your team is capable of doing big things. Show others how to thrive together, seamlessly.



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