A Practical Guide to Cross-Functional Work

Alison Randel
Aug 28, 2017 · 11 min read
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These problems are pervasive because the dysfunctions are caused by flaws in the way we approach cross-functional work, not by ill-intentioned or incompetent people.

What We Know Doesn’t Work

1. The functional matrix

2. The cross-functional oversight committee

3. A decision tree

4. Cross-functional planning teams (with siloed execution)

In fact, we typically don’t focus on the project-team level at all. Instead of solving for team-level issues, we put practices in place that are temporary solutions, at best, and, at worst, completely ineffective.

Short Circuit Any Structure With These Practices

1. Practice: Treat the work as a cross-functional project and the people working on it as an actual team — rather than a group of individuals completing related work — right from the start.

Tool: Team charter

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2. Practice: Take competing commitments head on before the tough decisions surface.

Tool: Even/over statements

3. Practice: Establish a team rhythm that promotes interactions like collaboration, learning, and reflection rather than relying on individual action.

Tools: Run a weekly Action Meeting

4. Practice: Clarify decision rights and use a clear decision process to avoid the downfalls of consensus.

Tools: Decision rights and integrative decision-making

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Cross-Functional Work as a Discipline


The Ready

Lessons from our quest to change how the world works.

Alison Randel

Written by

Travel Enthusiast, Psychology Nerd, Leadership & Org Design Consultant, Team Member at The Ready

The Ready

The Ready

Lessons from our quest to change how the world works. Topics include org design, self-organization, and dynamic teaming.

Alison Randel

Written by

Travel Enthusiast, Psychology Nerd, Leadership & Org Design Consultant, Team Member at The Ready

The Ready

The Ready

Lessons from our quest to change how the world works. Topics include org design, self-organization, and dynamic teaming.

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