We have annual performance objectives; but what happens when our goals do not align with other functions within the organization? Chaos and organizational failure!
In simple terms, cross-functional collaboration is when people from different functions within a company join to achieve a common goal. Let’s face it, we want to believe HR and the performance management team understand our business, but we also understand the reality of the process - especially when we see people and process falling flat.
“Remember, when process and people fall flat, so does internal and external Customer satisfaction!”
Collaboration isn't all fun and games. Most of us have played the game of 'corporate Twister' and it can be hard work to get it right, and let's be real, conflicting priorities create chaos; that's why so many people trip and fall over their colleagues, year after year.
Depending on the size and scale of your organization, the players typically vary by company, and the most common include: Business Users, Compliance, Finance, HR, IT, Legal, Purchasing, and let's not forget our external Customers and Vendors!
Who else? Executive Management. Notice I didn't say Executive Leadership.
Leadership would imply an understanding of performance management collaboration; and require the HR process owner be held accountable as a member of the team to ensure organizational success.
“If Executive Management were Executive Leadership, more people would be left standing, or perhaps better still, there would be no Twister!”
The Reality = Conflicting Priorities.
Is this a familiar story in your world?
A business unit applies pressure on a vendor to expand the scope of the project deliverable without any increase in price; while purchasing attempts to enforce an enterprise-wide cost-down initiative; and finance is under pressure from Executive Management to enforce budget controls; and if that's not enough...
Executive Management (yours, and the vendors) are in the background 'applying pressure' (a.k.a. yelling loudly and stomping their feet!) to deliver growth and meet (better yet, exceed) the budget forecast and increase shareholder value.
Every function is doing what they believe is best for the organization. These good intentions are conflicting priorities. This is 'Twister' winning over collaboration.
Last Person Standing.
No matter which circles and colors are spun on the 'Twister Wheel'... everyone falls without alignment of performance goals and objectives. If you are like most organizations, people focus on their objectives, their comfort zone, while there might be an attempt to influence other team members closest to them, that's where the experience ends. There is no clear understanding of how their efforts link to other functions, influence company performance, and ultimately retain Customers.
STOP and think bigger picture - the green circle on the Twister mat, 4-circles away - yes, stretch yourself, and start talking,
Yes, I said talking, actually speaking human to human and not hiding behind an email bomb that leaves everyone in a pile on the floor! Many of us, myself included, tend to rely on multiple forms of tech-communication, but sadly, talking keeps moving lower on the list as technology velocity moves us closer into the next galaxy. Let's keep people at the core of what we do.
It's not rocket science. I promise. Align individual objectives across the organization by REQUIRING collaboration, and implement a performance management strategy that drives personal and team accountability, connects people and process, is logical, includes clearly defined goals and objectives, and then sit back and watch the internal and external customer satisfaction metrics begin to trend UP!
Let's all remember a crucial ingredient to our success: COMMON SENSE!
What can you do?
Be a Leader.
Challenge the paradigm! Actions speak louder words... they really do. Start pushing NOW for functional alignment. Be the person who questions objectives, urges others to do the same, thus ensuring the team (and you) not only meet, but exceed your annual goals.
Be Honest. Be Direct. Grow Relationships.