Team Up: Understanding and Improving Interdepartmental Collaboration in Your San Pedro Business
No company is ever truly the sum of its parts. When a team collaborates well, they can often enhance the quality of work and their own value beyond expectation. If you want to improve communication, coordination, and collaboration between departments, you’ll need to integrate the latest business solutions. Here, the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce presents a few to consider.
The Importance of Communication and Collaboration
Before we explore strategies for improvement, we should first get a grip on the “why” behind interdepartmental collaboration. Businesses tend to benefit in the aggregate when they operate holistically, meaning that when there is synchronicity between departments, there are likely to be fewer delays, improved productivity, and higher customer satisfaction. Companies may also find there is more potential to grow, avoid conflict, and manage risk and improve morale when the lines are blurred between departments.
Strategies for Improvement
If you want to increase interactions between departments, you have to first present opportunities to do so. This could mean hosting interdepartmental meetings, company-wide activities, or simply encouraging company-centric collaborations. You might also want to encourage walking meetings instead of standard conference room style gatherings, especially if your office is in a walkable area. New ideas flow – and more people remain alert – when you're walking. Plus, you can make a coffee run for the team at the same time!
You should always aim to ensure that everyone across the company is on the same page when it comes to work software and protocols. For example, you may suggest that PDFs are the preferred file format over Word, Excel, or Powerpoint. There are plenty of programs that allow you to easily drag, drop, and convert files (for example, try this if you want a PDF file converter), and most are free!
If you haven’t already, introducing data analysis into your workflows can seriously improve interdepartmental efficiency. Celonis explains that process mining uses data to discover, validate, and improve operations in order to benefit your entire business. This not only helps with collaboration but can also improve your sales process, increases sales, mitigates risks, and uncover new opportunities.
With so much tech available to aid with project collaboration and synchronicity, it’s important to keep everyone using the same tech. Google Docs, for example, boasts many small collaborative functions (such as in-document annotation), or there are tools such as Trello that focus on task management.
Common Failure Points
Lattice notes that successful, well-synchronized companies tend to share clear, mutual OKRs (objectives and key results) across the whole company. If the wider goals amongst departments do not align, or worse, clash with each other, fracturing is sure to follow.
Management styles can inform cultures, and when cultures deviate between departments, it’s no surprise that departments refuse to co-mingle. To address this, try to encourage a single, company-wide set of values that everyone can adhere to.
Over-reliance on Digital Solutions
There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, and over-use of email or messaging applications can result in passive-aggressive behavior that comes at the detriment of the work itself.
Presenting a Report to Leadership and Investors
Your business likely has a senior leadership team, but do you also have investors? Entrepreneurs who self fund can be missing out on important assets that investors bring. And this is not just about money. Experienced investors bring with them industry knowledge, networking, and operational expertise. You should leverage your network to find business leaders who can bring wisdom to your leadership team.
Unfortunately, preparing and presenting a report to your investors and senior leadership team (SLT) can be intimidating. When you work with colleagues from other departments, your first priority is to get everyone on the same page. Remember first and foremost that your SLT is time-poor, and therefore, expects a presentation to be direct and to the point. Rehearse plenty, avoid jargon, and make sure to allocate areas of discussion to corresponding members of the team.
Make Strategic and Intentional Decisions
Interdepartmental collaboration is essential to the growth and success of a company as well as the individuals who comprise it. If you want to improve this, you’ll need to take a step back and learn to view the business as a more cohesive whole. Think differently in many capacities, from using PDF converters and other digital tools to implementing walking meetings to expanding your influencers to include investors. Every strategic decision will get you closer to your best possible working environment.