We all know that teamwork is an essential ingredient to any successful endeavor. Whether you’re working to build a prosperous business, win a World Series title, or simply trying to achieve a personal wellness goal, you need a rock-solid team to help bring home a victory.
This comes second nature to most of us who grew up working on school projects with other students, joining forces with our pals on athletic teams, or participating in other group activities. So why then do so many companies struggle with interdepartmental collaboration?
Taking a quick stroll between departments at the typical office can sometimes feel like walking through different neighborhoods—each with their own unique culture and language. That’s not really shocking when you think about how diverse these groups are.
Programmers, salespeople, human resource professionals, accountants, and other specialists, all come from different backgrounds and may have a hard time getting on the same page, even if they all get along just fine. That’s because working in a particular career for several years can nurture a specific perspective.
Unfortunately, sometimes the mindset that enables us to focus and become excellent at what we do can also prevent us from fully understanding other points of view.
So, what can we do to build the interdepartmental teamwork needed to accomplish big things? This is a question that we had to grapple with recently at Viverae® as we brought together literally every department in the company in an effort to introduce our new mobile technology.
Here are three key takeaways that proved useful in driving collaboration among departments:
Have a clear goal
It’s easier to collaborate when everyone understands the overall objective. You never see firefighters get caught up arguing about the best way to do their job. That’s because the task is important, and they know that in order to be successful, they have to work together.
When everyone has a clear idea of what the organization as a whole is trying to accomplish, it’s no longer about every department for itself. Instead it’s about getting busy to accomplish a more important endgame.
Communication is essential
We’ve talked about the importance of communication before. It’s even more vital when working with different departments. At Viverae, we hold company-wide monthly meetings to bring everyone up to speed with where we are today and where we want to be in the future.
We also recognize the contributions that each department has made to the overall task. Not only does this let everyone know how they fit into the master plan, it also lets everyone know that we notice and value their contributions.
Encourage intermingling among departments
At Viverae, we have committees—made up entirely of employee-volunteers—that coordinate various social activities for everyone to enjoy. Activities include the Viverae Olympics, fundraisers, races/fun walks for worthy causes, a company haunted house, and several other events throughout the year.
That variety is key, as not all employees will want to participate in everything. But with enough diversity, all employees will find something of interest and get involved.
Building a culture of collaboration in your organization is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do for your company.
Not only does it help you form a cohesive and diverse group that works well together, but it also helps improve employee morale and retention, leads to new ideas and more creativity, and gives employees more ways to contribute to your culture of excellence.