Directing the Multi-Functional Team : Part I

One Team – One Purpose

Positive team dynamics often center around a shared sense of purpose. By this I mean… having a clear understanding of the “why” behind the strategy, processes and procedures can be a positive motivator for the individual; creating tangible and even effortless unity among team members.

“It’s the type of interaction that can turn a day full of heavy, mundane, treadmill-like tasks into a weightless and exciting adventure.” COMM Envy

The all-important “why” is provided by senior leadership. It’s the rallying cry for the organization as a whole – the thing that makes everyone want to give their best. It’s the bigger picture that tells the whole story – the mission; the vision; the purpose… the reason the organization exists.

When purpose is effectively communicated and well-developed strategy is devised to support it, productivity levels will rise. However, when that purpose is either miscommunicated or misrepresented as ambiguous and irrelevant to the team, levels of productivity, moral and overall connectedness among team members will decline and turnover rates will increase. The reason for this is quite simple. Where there is lack of transparency, there is lack of trust.

I recognize that information cannot and should not always be shared at the team level. There is a reason for executive level decision making. However, there are ways to keep team members engaged without making them feel as though they are less important to the decision-making process.  

Don’t worry… this isn’t a lesson in employee manipulation or deception. What I’m referring to is something that takes quite a bit more integrity, courage and sustained effort.

Building respectful and inclusive relationships with team leaders and then training them to do the same with their team members – from the outset – creates a foundation for the trust needed to sustain them in times of flexibility and uncertainty.

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Leading Edge: One Team – One Purpose

When directing multi-functional teams, it’s important to clearly and decisively communicate one “why”. In other words: the same purpose applies to all teams.

The organizational purpose doesn’t change because the strategy (processes and procedures carried out to meet goals) differs from one team to another. For instance, if excellent customer service is a core value for your organization – it is integral to your purpose. That means that if you are part of the call center team, servicing the customer directly or if you are part of the sanitation crew and you don’t interact directly with the customer – your goals collide at the point of excellence, for which you both strive. When one team’s performance affects the other. Here’s how: A customer service complaint to the call center can occur if the bathrooms were not adequately stocked. Or, a customer service survey could reveal that the facilities are immaculate, but the results are overshadowed because the service center staff is seen as being unresponsive. One Team!

As a director of multi-functional teams, you don’t necessarily have to memorize intricate details of team processes, but you do have to ensure that your leaders are saying conveying the message you’ve received from senior leadership accurately and effectively. Since the main objective should be communicating the organization’s purpose in a way that causes your team leads or managers to understand it, understand their team’s place in it, take hold of it and pass it along to those who are on the front lines of service, you will have to ensure that you can do the same. One Purpose!

Stay Tuned for Part II

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