One of the things our work with multinational companies has taught us is the growing importance of cross-team collaboration. For 21st century businesses it has become a vital prerequisite for building success. And this has an impact on the team development initiatives you undertake.
We see two major evolutions taking place in today’s business reality, which affect team collaboration:
- Mergers & acquisitions, alliances, and other new emerging forms of collaboration between organizations involve much more cross-border and cross-cultural aspects than before.
Management and employees are in many cases not used to deal with these new circumstances. Cross-cultural challenges increase the degree of complexity of successful collaboration. When results are not met, when motivation is going down, when irritation and emotions flare up, and we take a closer look at what is going on, it almost always comes down to the fact that there is not enough people alignment within and between teams to cope effectively with the cross-cultural and cross-border challenges they face. And this turns out to be a crucial obstacle, which prevents the organization to be successful.
- Business environments are changing faster than before, and therefore businesses need to manage change differently.
Long term planning and fixed predetermined steps are no longer the key to success. It has become crucially important to be able to navigate and adjust course during the journey. Leaders need to develop cultures in which adaptability, agility, and resilience are key qualities. And these do not develop automatically. They require a company-wide ability of people and teams to continuously create alignment with each other to find and implement the right response to the changes taking place around them.
Both trends demonstrate the importance of having aligned teams that are able to collaborate successfully in these new circumstances. Our experience is that team development has shifted from “a rather soft aspect of business, which we address when we have the time” to “one of the essential hard success factors that make or break our organization”. And this means that we need to revisit the way we approach team development. We see the following points of attention:
- Building team alignment requires a strong focus on the challenges and issues your business is facing. In other words, team development initiatives have no sustainable effect when they do not support the team to transform its real life business challenges into concrete team actions that have clear and positive results in the field.
- Team alignment is a process. It requires a sustained effort of ‘learning by doing’, in which there is an incremental deepening of the level of alignment and a recurring follow up on results. A good mixture is needed between off site (reflection, deepening) and on site (real life monitoring, coaching, doing) activities.
Is your company struggling with cross-team collaboration? Do you experience a lack of team alignment? In that case our Team Alignment Program might interest you. It combines two+ decades of experience in working with teams internationally, especially also teams facing the evolutions described above.
Aad is an international business advisor, alignment expert, leadership team facilitator and executive coach. As founder and managing partner at HRS Business Transformation Services he works with executives and leadership teams internationally on three key topics: ‘leading complex change’, ‘cross-cultural leadership’, and ‘post-merger integration’. Find out more about Aad and HRS’ services. If you would like to invite Aad to your organization feel free to contact us here.
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