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Handling a Cross-Functional Team - Is It Worth the Time and Effort?

Updated on September 16, 2017
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Stevie G. is a Life Coach, Educator and Researcher. He is the founder of Infinite Visionary Training Center in Minnesota.

A talented team will come together with a single, overriding goal in mind: to effectively achieve a mission or complete a major project, regardless of the obstacles involved. Each team member sets aside his or her own personal agenda for the sake of working in oneness with the group.

The Cross-functional team comes into play: this type of dynamic team consists of people who are a specialist at diverse levels of an organization. Including accountants, product designers, marketing experts and manufactures to name a few.

Many times, a major product may surpass the skills and abilities of a single organizational department, such as operations. As a result, a leader or CEO will form cross-functional teams to tackle the problem.

Everyone cannot effectively function on cross functional teams. Some people are too arrogant, contentious and unwilling to comply with a common goal. These people must be passed over for the sake of developing a common agenda.

Handling Diverse Positions

A leader of a cross-functional team must be able to deal with the various positions which come with operating such a group. Some people may have pushy egos while others may hold on to passive intentions.

The job of the leaders is to get everyone involved by introducing the importance of achieving the mission or completing the product. He must push the need for every person to put aside his or her private agenda and to agree on ideas in which everyone can embrace.

If a leader can’t get each team member to agree to work toward a common goal, the mission will be in danger of failure. Organizations that are unable to master team performance will seldom grow into a major cooperation.

Focusing on a common goal is the way to get people of distinct levels of expertise to work together as a powerful unit.

Assessing the Value of a Cross-Functional Team

Are Cross-Functional Teams Effective for Resolving Business Crisis?

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Keeping Team Members Satisfied

Keeping each team member satisfied is not a guarantee when it comes to leading cross-functional teams to organizational victory. The biggest problem is dealing with egos. Some members may believe that an assigned position is beneath their knowledge and skills. However, leaders must convince them that the goal is not about them but about the successful completion of the project to the satisfaction of the client.

Advantages of Cross-Functional Teams

Accelerated growth-the problems and challenges encountered in a cross-functional team will enable team members to grow in strength and characters as they overcome obstacles.

Greater Innovation-putting so many brilliant minds together are bound to produce some of the most creative and innovative ideas. This is the purpose of putting so many people from various levels of expertise. Effective brainstorming can produce ideas not only for project completion but also for future projects and developments.

Enhanced Collaboration-when team members come together to work on a project, the collaboration will be for more powerful than it would be if only two people were making all the decisions.

Disadvantages of Cross-Functional Teams

Egotistic Behavior-dealing with such group members can be very exhausting. Many times, a leader will have to dismiss team members who are unwilling to listen to ideas other than their own.

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Displays of Jealousy-some team members be jealous of others who may play a more key role in achieving the project mission. I have seen entire teams torn apart due to jealous individuals who ignite major conflict among members.

Non-contributors-these are people who were chosen because of skills and talents displayed in their area of expertise. However, once they make the team, they become invisible. For some reason, they just don’t contribute. In addition, the quality of their work is quite poor. Eventually, such people are released from their part in completing the project.

Great teams are known for their intense focus on achieving a mission or effectively completing a major project. In such teams, the idea of ‘ME’ becomes ‘US”. Team members set aside their own private agenda for the good of the team.

Cross-functional teams are needed, especially in times of organizational crisis. Selecting the right members is the challenge you must face. Choose wisely.

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