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Tag Archives: cross-functional teams

Invite your critics to be part of your project team

Diverse points of view are the source of disagreement, but they are also the foundation of better decision-making.  The next time you are working on a new initiative or project, think about who your biggest opponents might be.  These are the people who often are a thorn in your side – they think whatever you’re doing is a waste of time and other resources, or they believe you should have gone in a different direction.  Engage them in a conversation anyway, as it will lead to your eventual success.  Set up meetings with each one, and without getting defensive, let this person tell you exactly what they think.  It won’t be a comfortable dialogue, but wouldn’t you much rather know this information than not?  Then, and this may be a bitter pill to swallow for some of you, ask this person if they’ll join your project team.  Now before you write me off completely, let me explain.  Continue reading

To facilitate change, bring people together who are not connected

Chinese symbol for change

A couple of weeks ago I talked briefly about a leader’s role as an agent of change. And it’s a responsibility you should take seriously. The expectations that your clients and customers have of you are changing, rapidly, so you need to keep your ear to the ground to know what they’re thinking and what they demand of you. One of the best ways to stay ahead of the change curve is to find ways to think differently. Here’s one idea that I have observed many leaders use successfully. Bring people together who are not connected.

If you’re in a mid-sized or large organization, then in its simplest form that means creating cross-functional teams. If you’re working on a new initiative, put folks from engineering, operations, accounting, human resources and legal on the same team. Yeah, there will be some friction, but it will be for the good of the final result. Even if you’re not part of a large organization, you can still achieve the same outcome by deliberately choosing to interact with people who have different backgrounds or work with different target markets. One way to formalize this is to create a mastermind circle. If you don’t know what that is, or want to learn how to create and use one, then this short article titled Mastermind Circles: A powerful and easy way to create your own advisory panel that I wrote for CGA Magazine in November 2008 will be helpful.

What are you doing to bring together people who can offer you different perspectives and a variety of alternatives? Please share with the rest of us.