How do you pull together a company where every department or office works in their own individual world and has their own individual objectives, vision and goals? Can different departments be aligned to work with each other rather than against each other? It seems that the larger the company, the harder it can be to keep everyone focused on the same objectives and working toward the same goals. Often we hear statements from sales blaming production for not delivering or service blaming sales for over-promising or employees blaming management for setting goals too high. The end result is that goals are not met, teams are not aligned and employees are more focused on pointing fingers than working together to solve real issues. Here are some actionable ways you can start pulling those silos together to focus on the bigger picture.
Force Them Together
They may not want to be together but you need them to be. This could come about via a cross functional project or a need for the overall company. There needs to be urgency around this otherwise it won’t happen.
They need to get more into the world of the other departments/people so they can understand where they are coming from. Take each other through a day in the life of that department, map the process from one department to another, create an understanding of priorities / challenges for each area. Understanding equals Empathy, Trust & Patience.
Connect as People
They need to know each other and yes, like each other on the human level. People are more willing to share information and help out those that they care about. Create situations where they can really know one another on a personal level and find what they have in common rather than just focusing on where they are different.
Have Honest Dialog
Create means to have honest dialog about expectations, assumptions, disappointments and desires. If they can literally breakdown the walls that may have gone up due to misunderstandings, they can have “real” conversations that are productive. If people or teams don’t like what is going on, they can say something to the “other side” and come to a resolution faster rather than festering and adding more walls.
Leaders have to Model Connectivity
The heads of the department have to be connected. They need to model how to proactively share information and how to address conflicts. Leaders need to show no tolerance for gossip and trash talk about the other departments.
Co-Create the narrative of their collective vision. What do we want? What will that look like? What are the possibilities from there? What do we need to start doing, stop doing and keep doing to make that happen? If the focus is on the bigger, greater vision, it takes the energy away from focusing on the negative about each other.
This isn’t a one retreat and done situation. Reinforcement needs to come from all areas in the organization. This means from leadership all the way across the organization. Look at the reward system and see where you can reward for collaborative work rather than competitive. Create goals that are interwoven throughout the departments so they have no choice but to have each other’s’ back in order to have success.
If the different departments in your organization are working against each other, there may be some serious underlying issues which need to be addressed. Contact us for a phone assessment of your situation and ideas on how you can move forward.