Reduce Friction and Promote Teamwork
As mentioned in a previous post, our team at Stratasan strives to be trailblazers in the healthcare space, developing innovative tools and services that address our clients' growth goals. The best way we can effectively lead our clients and provide value is by innovative thinking that challenges the status quo. And the only way to be innovative and develop products and services that truly make an impact is through cross-department collaboration—uniting the best thinking from every team.
Teams must work together in order to achieve an organization’s goals. Here are a few key reasons why:
The decisions made by one team can impact everyone from IT to marketing to business development to the clinical staff. It’s important that these decisions not be made in a bubble so that the needs of each team can be considered and evaluated.
Cross-department collaboration will foster a culture of continuous improvement, where employees take ownership of problems and work together to bring about solutions. (KaiNexus)
Change is more likely to be implemented when there are key shareholders throughout the company involved in the decision-making process.
In this post, we’ll cover a list of ways to proactively facilitate interdepartmental collaboration. We’ll discuss why timing is important, communication is key, and documentation facilitates a smoother process. See below for more about each of these points.
1. Bring all stakeholders in early. When you begin a project that will require involvement from multiple parts of the business, it helps to get the key players on-board early in the process. Bring in a stakeholder from each department and form a committee committed to successfully completing the task at hand. This committee will need to agree upon what success will look like. How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? What is the end result you have in mind? Make sure everyone involved is on the same page about what you’re striving for.
With success defined, you can begin to map out what steps you will need to take to get there. This may require multiple meetings to identify all the ‘what-ifs’ situations and flush out hidden cases that you may uncover as the project is underway. Having a culture that fosters innovations will encourage involvement from each stakeholder.
It’s important to remember that whatever scenario you land on is one that will create the least amount of friction for the customer. Your end game should be to make decisions that will lead to the best outcome for each area of the business and ultimately, your customer.
2. Communicate often. Communication is a pillar to successful internal team collaboration. You must identify the best tool for communication—email, instant messaging, Slack, in person—for all stakeholders to stay in consistent communication. Periodic meetings are a must to make sure everyone is on the same page, understands project progress, and is communicating challenges that arise as the project moves forward. This will enable brainstorming, when it’s needed, for collaborative problem-solving.
Keep in mind though, it’s important to make sure that your meetings are thoughtfully and strategically planned. We’ve summarized our meeting strategy in a compelling infographic, check it out here. Some key points to remember as you plan out your meeting schedule:
Be careful to avoid too many meetings. Take advantage of all the communication avenues—email, instant messaging, Slack—don’t always default to the in-person option.
Not everyone needs to be in every meeting. Make the distinction between high-level meetings (managers) and the active collaborators.
In one of your early meetings, it will be helpful to identify potential language barriers (i.e. jargon and department-specific terminology). Document these terms and language barriers so that everyone can communicate more smoothly. This will eliminate frustration and possible confusion for all parties.
3. Document everything. Documentation is important to the success of a collaboration. Just as it’s helpful to document key terminology, it is also helpful to document your process and the challenges you encounter during the project. Documenting your process will help the team to stay on the same page and provide a point of reference when questions come up. Documenting the challenges will help when you present your findings to other team members outside the project and question the decisions you have made. Finally, documentation creates a guide you and others can refer to when it’s time to start the next collaborative project.
4. Celebrate the win. Even if it’s small, celebrate your accomplishments! A team lunch or happy hour can be a great time for team building. And aside from the potential morale boost, this step also has practical value. Frustrations that may have arisen between teammates during the project could be more easily addressed in a casual, off-site setting. Also, getting away from the office may provide some clear-headed thinking and allow for a helpful review of key takeaways from the project—what went well and what could use improvement next time.
Organizations that want to grow and find innovative ways to address opportunities must overcome the hurdles that can come with cross-department collaboration. To be successful, you must be sure to not confuse pleasant, cooperative behavior with collaboration. True collaboration will make a real impact on your organization and your ability to accomplish great things.
For more information about how to rally your team around data insights, growth goals, and strategic initiatives, schedule a discovery call with one of our experts today.