Working With Allies, Enemies & Other Strangers
Glenn M. Parker, author of “Cross-Functional Teams”, is a consultant who works with organizations to improve quality and productivity by creating high-performance teams. His training and team-building techniques are becoming the standard for building teams in today’s business place. His ideas, techniques, and advice have been utilized by many companies such as, Merck and Company, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Myers Squibb, 3M, and AT&T. Parker lives in Lawrenceville, New Jersey with his wife Judy. In his spare time he plays tennis, cheers on the Philadelphia 76ers, and plans his next vacation. His book, ...view middle of the document...
The members of cross-functional teams often function under self direction. They do not require specific directions. However, decision making in a team may depend on majority but is more often being lead by a manger or team leader. As with any team, the leader plays a very important role but leading a cross-functional team is much more difficult. The main reason these kinds of teams are made up is to deal with a complex subject or to resolve a demanding issue. The leader of cross-functional teams must have a diverse technical background to understand the subject and the contributions that are made from its diverse members. Team leaders also need to clarify their team’s authority and to make a decision about key issues. One of the main issues with cross-functional teams is that they do not have the authority to make decisions and implement them. Some teams will take the responsibility of making a decision under the assumption that they automatically are entitled to that kind of authority.
It may be obvious, but an effective team needs to have a clear set of goals, a common purpose, and a clear mission. Because cross-functional teams are different from other teams, setting goals is very critical to its success. “One of the most important roles that clear goals play on a cross-functional team is to reduce the potential of conflicts and minimize past differences among the various disciplines represented on the team.” (p. 81) Members of a team seem to have a clear understanding of what they must deliver but are not sure where his or her piece of the puzzle fits in the overall prospective. Therefore, team members are only concerned with what they have to get done and are less inclined to any commitments toward the total project to make it work. To resolve this issue, the development of a common goal, which all members are willing to accept and support, needs to be thought out carefully and thoroughly that support the objective.
In cross-functional teams, every team member is going to be faced with increased responsibility and is going to wonder how they are personally going to benefit from their participation on the team. Department managers will rarely see their employee’s performance on a team and will not always get a complete view of what they did. It is up to the team leader to be in charge of giving the department manager the input that he or she needs to factor in an employee’s reward. Organizations are then required to shift their individual reward programs to team reward programs. While there will always be a need to reward an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty, team reward programs have been put in place to be given when the job is complete. Even individual rewards must acknowledge people who are effective team players, offer their expertise, and pitch in and help out when necessary.
Cross-Functional teams provide an excellent opportunity for an employee to demonstrate their unique work...