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Chapter 25. Cross-Functional Teams > Barriers to Cross-Functional Teams - Pg. 330

Cross-Functional Teams 330 Assign Work In any team, the work is broken down and various members are given assignments. In a cross- functional team, it's logical to assign those aspects of the work that are in a member's special area of expertise to that member. That's the main reason for having cross-functional teams. However, there are times when it is advantageous to assign more than one member to a segment of the job. Sometimes, there's only one specialist in that field on the team. If the job requires addi- tional specialized knowledge, a person who knows that area but is not on the team may be enlisted to help. But often, the specialized member can be aided by a team member from another specialty. This gives the member a chance to see the task from a different view and acquire new knowledge. It also helps develop the collaborative efforts so important to team achievement. Barriers to Cross-Functional Teams Making any team succeed is hard work; it's even harder when members come from diverse and often conflicting backgrounds. Team Builder If none of your team members has the expertise needed to accomplish your goals, request that a person with that know-how be added to the team for the duration of that project. What Problems? Let's look at some of the problems that impede cross-functional teams: · Members tend to look upon themselves as representatives of their department or discipline, instead of as team members. When problems are discussed, their focus is, "How will this affect my department?" rather than, "What's the best solution?" · Members, when dealing with a problem in their special area, often make decisions without con- sulting other team members. For example, a sales member in a customer relations team may make commitments to customers that cannot be fulfilled. Had she discussed it with the team, she would have learned that key resources were not available to keep the commitment. · Team members tend to express themselves in their own jargon, not realizing that other members misunderstand their comments, or don't understand them at all. When communication fails, team collaboration fails. · Some members will not share information with other members because, as they come from a different discipline, they believe they're not competent to understand it. · Members move too quickly to accept an early suggested solution rather than encourage explo- ration of other solutions. · Members tend to denigrate members of other disciplines. For example, engineers may feel marketing people are not as "professional" as they are in examining problems. · Members talk too much and listen too little. This is particularly true of members who talk for a living, such as salespeople and public relations staff.