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Challenges in Cross Functional Collaboration

By Warren Cook

Are your functional leaders engaging each other effectively to ensure the flow of communication and operational activities are successful?  When you describe your management team, do you use terms like “silo”, “ineffective”, “lack of collaboration”, or “unsuccessful”?  This is not an uncommon challenge in organizations yet permitting this behavior to continue can lead to disastrous consequences over time.

Speaking to business owners and business leaders, if you do not have a strong effective leadership team you are already experiencing the challenges of getting anything done the way your business needs to.  From lack of consistency, to project misalignment, to poor data and key performance indicators, to an inability to align the culture across the organization.  The struggle is real, and the unfortunate reality may be that as the leader you have been unsuccessful in establishing your expectations and holding your management team accountable to drive the mission, vision, and culture of the business.

It is critical to align the functions of your organization and have them collaborating and aligned to achieve established goals.  If you think back to when you began expanding your business and realized you need different subject matter expert to drive success, you would never have considered allowing each of the subject matter experts to work in a silo and ignore one another to the point that it is unclear who is doing what and how each department supports the others to execute the work of the business.  A simple example could be the launch of a new office.  If you only involve sales you may be exited that you added a few new clients, however, without strategic planning and collaboration with operations, compliance, information technology, and human resources, you may be unable to fulfill the commitments and obligations to your new clients because there is no alignment across the other functions to support your sales activities.

Far too often a breakdown in leadership, accountability, trust, and relationships cause the silos to exist and walls to be created disconnecting the lines of communication critical for organizational success.  If you are a business leader facing these types of challenges, I encourage you to contact me to discuss a path forward to establish expectations, reinforce leadership, implement accountability, and break the barriers between functional areas the inhibit achieving the level of success you know is possible if everyone would just work together aligned.  I can be reached at 302.276.3302 or by email at