Developing a well-knit organization

Organization building requires attention to many aspects such as structure, authority, responsibilities, talent and resources. What is often overlooked is the need for collaboration and cooperation of the different functional units that together make the whole. As a business owner, GM or CEO, it is imperative that you build vertical units of functional excellence that also work on a horizontal plane for achieving overall corporate goals and customer satisfaction.

As organizations grow and the owner-founder starts delegating tasks to managers heading functions such as sales, operations, finance, HRD, it is important that these teams do not become fiefdoms with individual agendas. Teams may achieve their department’s KPIs but if they do not work as a well-knit organizations, the company’s overall KPIs may not be achieved.

A well-knit organization takes time to build, but must be an important item on your organization development plan. A few tips that helped us, is what I share with you.

a. Identify and develop talent that has the ability to act as a bridge as well as a binder between two teams. Executives that are more socially active in the company are ideally acceptable to leaders across teams and act as effective brokers. They are able to easily communicate the requirements of one team to another and can also ease tensions because of their social acceptability. They become an active go-between and are used as interfaces between teams.

b. Expose people to the challenges and concerns of other departments so that they can understand the expectations and responses. A team member may be fully aware of their own limitations and requirements but is not aware of the other team. Typically, sales and finance are at loggerheads and sometimes it’s operations and sales. HR and finance also seem to be at opposite ends of the tunnel, and it helps if they are exposed to the intricacies of each other sufficiently.

c. Teach people to ask questions with the view of learning and answer questions with the view of teaching. Staying inside a silo helps no one and the best way to have a broader view is to ask questions with an earnest intent to learn more. At the same time answering questions with sincerity and completeness helps teams to work better.

d. Rotating people or providing ‘Intranship’ is a good way of knowing not just how the other team works but also knowing the people better. Having worked on the other side of the fence helps a lot and this has been very effective. At times we even discover hidden talents when people are rotated.

Is your organization well-knit? Take a quick look at the number of times your department leaders interact, inside and outside the organization and you will have your answer. Count the number of meetings you have mediated to ease inter-team complaints.
Would love to hear your comments and any other tips that you’d like to share for a well-knit organization.