In this post I present five practical ways to bring business people in different roles together, to work out a common view. In large companies, the organizational barriers can be teared down by creating new forums for dialogue. This is a continuation of my earlier post: “Mission – breaking down the silos”, where I discussed about processes for co-designing business models.
- Cross the organizational barriers in training events
Bring product people into sales training. Bring sales people into product management training. Collaboration between the roles is fruitful during training events, when participants are changing ideas about working practices from angles of the different organization parts. Involve people from other regions as well, to join local trainings, to learn about working principles, and management practices in the other company offices.
- Analyze customer and market data together with the different departments
The different roles have different understanding about the terms of company competitiveness. As customer research or sales data is analyzed together, the different thinking models about the market and customers are opened.
Sharing, challenging, explaining and interpreting information together will bring in different views. Key data as well as tacit understanding should often be analyzed cross-roles, to reveal traditional thinking models which prevents the organization from renewing its practices.
- Introduce common KPI´s
If the key performance metrics for the different departments don´t have enough common, there neither will be common interests, nor genuine motivation for co-working. Shared targets give a reason to support the colleagues in achieving the common goals.
- Realize one day job rotations
Make people to change roles for one or two days. Product people as sales assistants. Sales people working at customer service department. CFO joining the customer touch points in the assistant sales rep role. Marketing people to arrange picnics to sales offices. This will grow respect and understanding between the roles and enable better dialogue.
- Who is our customer?
Ask the people in different departments and organization levels to explain, who are the company key customers – and how they decide. Gather together to discuss, why the answers are so different.
Crossing the organizational barriers to co-analyze the insights about the customers may be an eyes opening experience. Once this is started, the experience will encourage you to make your next safari to the neighboring departments.
Hannu Mattinen. My thinking model: Customer empathy. My approach: Simulate! Rethink! Innovate!