Cross Functional Teams

Pages: 5 (1688 words) Published: October 5, 2008
Cross-functional Teams
If a team member gets hurt in a car accident or begins their planned vacation, can the team still meet its’ goals and objectives or is there trouble looming ahead? A Team who develops into a cross-functional team, a group of people with different functional expertise working towards the same goal, does not have to worry about situations like these. Cross-functional teams have learned the concepts and have taken the necessary steps to allow their team to be successful even when situations like these arise. Teams who want to transform into cross-functional teams need to be willing to make sacrifices, share knowledge, and put forth more effort than what their job normally requires. They will need to use open team communication to generate the goals, the objectives, and the requirements that is expected of their team. In addition, they should have the willingness to create processes, rearrange existing processes, and implement new tools to help them achieve workstations in which any of their team members can produce the desired results. Teams who possess team members who are willing to share information and put forth additional effort, have a clear understanding of the requirements of their team, and possess team members who use forethought to create and improve existing processes can effectively generate and model a successful cross-functional working team. People who have worked in a team environment have surely heard another team member’s viewpoints and more than likely, their negative comments relating to the team, a team member, or the team atmosphere. Comments such as “That’s not my job.”, “I don’t get paid to do that.”, “It’s not my fault, they’re not doing their job.”, “Well fine, I was just trying to help!” , and many others have been said and are heard often in team environments. Moreover, negative comments such as these are detrimental to the team environment and create a negative working

atmosphere. In environments like these, developing a cross-functional team will be very hard to develop and will take a lot of time to be successful. With that said, one of the first steps to changing a negative team environment and creating a cross-functional team is by making a positive and fun working environment which will reduce the pressures felt by the team. There are many tools available that can produce these types of results. Schlage Lock, a manufacturer of door locks, has implemented and uses the “fish” philosophy. “The philosophy outlines four principles: Choose your attitude, make their day, play and be present” (Tucker, 2007). The “fish” philosophy provides ideas including fun activities, contests, and team sports that build the trust and cooperation in teams through these non-stressful events (Tucker, 2007). In addition, Schlage Lock provides team rewards and prizes that offer teams incentives to work together as a team towards company challenges. The more teams participate in these activities, the more they learn to trust each other, develop confidence in each other, and function as a group and not as individuals. Events such as these enable team members to reduce the walls they have created and will allow them to experience the true meaning of what a team means. As a result, team members will be more willing to participate and share their ideas towards work related functions. They will understand that their ideas will benefit the entire team and will lose the fear of thinking that their ideas are stupid or insignificant. All and all, better communication channels are created. Furthermore, many other benefits arise in this type of atmosphere; team members will convert their thought process from self-preservation to team preservation, will feel that they are an integral part of the team, will be more willing to make sacrifices for the team, and will reap the satisfaction when one of their ideas is successful.

After a great working environment has been created, and each team member feels...
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