How Effective Is Your Collaboration?

When your team works with other departments on a project, how would you rate your collaboration efforts? Is there an open line of communication and a real effort to identify issues and solve them? Or are you just “getting along” and that’s about it. Collaboration across departments or organizations is about more than just “cooperating” with other teams. It’s vital to develop a shared vision, cultivate mutual respect and have an understanding of each other’s roles.

Effective collaboration among teams has a number of benefits, including:

  • Helps to build trust and strengthen relationships within teams and across departments.
  • Leads to decisions that benefit both the departments and the entire organization.
  • Promotes learning and communication through the information exchange.
  • Encourages individuals and teams to work together to identify concerns and come up with proactive solutions.

On the other hand, there are a number of issues that can creep up when collaborative efforts between departments are not a priority or break down all together. A few of the biggest offenders include:

  • Inability to consider other perspectives: Team members can become so focused on their own job and their own team that they don’t take into account the different needs of other departments with different functions. You can overcome this challenge by having workers spend more time learning and understanding the role of other teams within the organization, perhaps through job shadowing or training opportunities.
  • Ineffective meetings: Meetings are an important tool for communication, but if they’re not run properly, they can be a big waste of time. When it comes to meetings, carefully consider the objectives, draft a clear agenda and have a plan in place to follow up on actions determined at the meeting. Make sure someone is in charge of the meeting who can keep it on time and stop it from getting sidetracked. For cross departmental collaboration to be effective, you need to ensure you have the right teams and the right team members in attendance.
  • Lack of clear direction: This is another pitfall of poor communication and one that can lead to confusion, frustration and resentment. When it comes to cross departmental collaboration, define roles and responsibilities from the beginning and make sure they’re communicated clearly. It’s the team leaders’ responsibility to address questions and concerns and check in regularly to make sure team members continue to understand what they’re contributing to the project.

When organizations embark on projects without the proper consultation and collaboration between departments, it can lead to confusion, wasted time and resources, lost productivity or, at the very worst, a failed outcome. Working with a coach, like Leah M Joppy and Associates, can make sure you get started on the right path from the very beginning. We’ll help you navigate every step of the process, including how to build an effective communication plan to defining team roles and so much more.

Coaching is a powerful tool for driving collaboration and improving overall team performance. If you’re interested in boosting your collaboration efforts when working with other departments or organizations, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email us at to learn more.