Chip Shots - The Power of Interdisciplinary Efforts

Here at Lead Change Group, we know that problems are most effectively solved when individuals come together to meld ideas, energies, and approaches.

To use a golf analogy, not every shot is a long drive. Many times, golfers have to take a chip shot to move the ball along for a short distance, with incisive accuracy.

If you are new to the Chip Shots green, welcome. In our Chip Shots feature, our Leading Voices are invited to provide brief insights into a leadership dilemma. To learn more, check out our first Chip Shots post or spend some time browsing the entire Chip Shots Series.

Today's Question

A recent Forbes article identified the Top 10 Business Trends That Will Drive Success In 2015. Here is a comment made about one of the trends, interdisciplinary workshops:

"The best companies will recognize that the entire organization can contribute to valuable content, and each team member plays a role in selling. Look for companies to invest in interdisciplinary workshops that bring the entire company together to gain perspective on sales, marketing, and customer experience. No longer can you thrive with silos."

Several of our leading voices shared their observations about interdisciplinary efforts they have seen that reduced or minimized silos, and contributed to a better product and experience for everyone.

Interdisciplinary Workshops

David Dye - In my experience, the key to effective interdisciplinary efforts, cross-departmental cooperation, and breaking down silos is a clear focus on one organizational priority. I’ve worked with companies ranging from public high schools, to marketing firms, to technology firms who completely changed their culture when they truly rallied around one outcome that everyone in the company had to own.

Mary Schaefer - I facilitated a series of 3-month leadership development programs that set up participants in teams of 6 from different functions in the company.  Four groups of six ultimately came together in the same room for a week of intensive, personal work on their leadership. They always remarked about how they appreciated and understood different parts of the company better after that experience, and now had established relationships with people in other areas, to really make things happen.

Susan Mazza - Interdisciplinary efforts only work well when there is a clear and compelling goal the participants share.  This creates the experience of being on one team which is essential to turning us and them into a we.

Mitchell Levy - I am starting to see more Chief Marketing Officer/VP Human Resources pairings as a result of the understanding of the importance of employee advocacy and engagement. Getting marketing involved to craft messages that resonate internally is important. HR encouraging employees to share content not just inside but outside the organization is key. This is a great trend.

Jon Mertz  - Product management is a team sport. When we shifted to key drivers for new development, we focused on letting customers and sales identify what what new functionality and features are needed. Behind this, there is a group of people who support each community so we get more diverse insights and ideas from this approach. We don't ignore the market. We still embrace it, just more fully and with a broader perspective. We gain by developing and delivering a more robust solution, and it is accepted with energy since they were involved from the start.

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