After all, cross functional collaboration is the hallmark of industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) environments. Not only is everything connected to everything else. Also, everyone is interconnected to everyone else.
As a result, the real test for the IIoT workplace is how successfully people collaborate across professional disciplines.
Why? Because legacy Us versus Them workplace mindset impedes forward progress for collaboration.
BASIC cross functional collaboration continues to frustrate teams.
Simply stated, cross functional collaboration puts groups of people with various functional expertise together to solve problems. In some scenarios, these collaborative teams represent employees from different departments of a company. In other scenarios, teams are both global as well as virtual. Consequently, they work on solutions to extremely complex issues.
Frustration sets in when team attributes and composition are BASIC: Biased, Arbitrary, Skewed, Incompetent or Close-minded. Let’s explore together, shall we?
BASIC Attribute 1. Biased Team Composition
Have you ever noticed the same people always are selected for special workforce teams? As a result, they are on so many teams that they have neither the time nor bandwidth to make significant and collaborative contributions to any team. Consequently, these teams never are quite able to create the business or engineered outcomes eagerly anticipated by the C-Suite.
BASIC Attribute 2. Arbitrary Team Composition
Alternatively, team selection resembles the game of choosing straws. Instead of team members perceiving their selection as something special, they feel they are being punished, like they all chose short straws. As a result, these cross-functional teams represent an illogical mix of individuals and disciplines. Everyone wonders why they were selected in the first place.
BASIC Attribute 3. Skewed Team Composition
Then again, there are teams lacking balanced composition. Too many of one professional discipline is represented. Consequently, additional and complementary disciplines are under-represented or completely absent. As a result, decision making is stalled or stalemated. Team momentum suffers.
BASIC Attribute 4. Incompetent Team Composition
Do I even need to define this team for you? Have you ever been on a cross functional team where certain members never pulled their weight because they had no clue what they were doing? Either other team members over compensate, take risks and work outside of their areas of functional expertise. Alternatively, team members under compensate, attempting to isolate and expose the incompetent member.
BASIC Attribute 5. Closed-minded Team Composition
We’ve all been on at least one of these teams. At least one member is set in their ways, habits, processes or level of expertise. Regardless of the problem being solved, this type of team member is close-minded. Consequently, they always are counted on to be a naysayer. As a result, these individuals are disruptive to team harmony. In addition, they potentially bring drama to the team, due to their relationships with decision makers up the food chain.
Experience with BASIC cross functional collaboration can negatively impact professional development.
There’s a tangible downside to being a member of a poorly-selected cross functional team with BASIC attributes. Post-project, team members feel negatively about their input-throughput-output.
On the other hand, the upside of being a member of a high-functioning team is that team members seek out additional opportunities to flex their collaborative skill sets and creative and critical thinking processes. As a result, positive team experiences become an important component of these professionals’ capabilities portfolio.
What is your own experience with cross functional collaboration? Did you recognize any of the BASIC profiles discussed in this article? What would you like to do?
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
Image source: Fotolia