50 Ways to Enhance Cross-Functional
Effectiveness and Deliver Speed,
“Service Excellence” and “Value-added
1. It’s our organization to make work—or not. It’s not “them,” the outside
world that’s the problem. The enemy is us. Period.
2. Friction-free! Dump 90% of “middle managers”—most are advertent or
inadvertent “power freaks.” We are all—every one of us—in the Friction Removal
Business, one moment at a time, now and forevermore.
3. No “stovepipes”! “Stove-piping,” “Silo-ing” is an Automatic Firing Offense.
Period. No appeals. (Within the limits of civility, somewhat “public” firings are not
out of the question—that is, make one and all aware why the axe fell.)
4. Everything on the Web. This helps. A lot. (“Everything” = Big word.)
5. Open access. All available to all. Transparency, beyond a level that’s “sensible,”
is a de facto imperative in a Burn-the-Silos strategy.
6. Project managers rule!! Project managers running XF (cross-functional)
projects are the Elite of the organization, and seen as such and treated as such.
(The likes of construction companies have practiced this more or less forever.)
7. “Value-added Proposition”= Application of integrated resources.
(From the entire supply-chain.) To deliver on our emergent business raison d’être,
and compete with the likes of our Chinese and Indian brethren, we must cooperate
with anybody and everybody “24/7.” IBM, UPS and many, many others are selling
far more than a product or service that works—the new “it” is pure and simple a
product of XF cooperation; “the product is the cooperation” is not much of a stretch.
8. “XF work” is the direct work of leaders!
9. “Integrated solutions” = Our “Culture.” (Therefore: XF = Our culture.)
10. Partner with “best-in-class” only. Their pursuit of Excellence helps us
get beyond petty bickering. An all-star team has little time for anything other than
delivering on the (big) Client promise.
11. All functions are created equal! All functions contribute equally! All = All.
T he “XF-50”
12. All functions are “PSFs,” Professional Service Firms.
“ Professionalism” is the watchword—and true Professionalism rises above turf wars.
You are your projects, your legacy is your projects—and the legacy will be skimpy
indeed unless you pass, with flying colors, the “works well with others” exam!
13. We are all in sales! We all (a-l-l) “sell” those Integrated Client Solutions.
Good salespeople don’t blame others for screw-ups—the Client doesn’t care.
Good salespeople are “quarterbacks” who make the system work-deliver.
14. We all invest in “wiring” the Client organization—we develop
comprehensive relationships in every part (function, level) of the Client’s organization.
We pay special attention to the so-called “lower levels,” short on glamour, long on
the ability to make things happen at the “coalface.”
15. We all “live the Brand”—which is Delivery of Matchless Integrated
Solutions that transform the Client’s organization. To “live the brand” is to become
a raving fan of XF cooperation.
16. We use the word “partner” until we want to barf! (Words matter! A lot!)
17. We use the word “team” until we want to barf. (Words matter! A lot!)
18. We use the word “us” until we want to barf. (Words matter! A lot!)
19. We obsessively seek Inclusion—and abhor exclusion.
We want more people from more places (internal, external—the whole “supply
chain”) aboard in order to maximize systemic benefits.
20. Buttons & Badges matter—we work relentlessly at team (XF team) identity
and solidarity. (“Corny”? Get over it.)
21. All (almost all) rewards are team rewards.
22. We keep base pay rather low—and give whopping bonuses for excellent
team delivery of “seriously cool” cross-functional Client benefits.
23. WE NEVER BLAME OTHER PARTS OF THE ORGANIZATION
24. WE TAKE THE HEAT—THE WHOLE TEAM.
(For anything and everything.) (Losing, like winning, is a team affair.)
25. “BLAMING” IS AN AUTOMATIC FIRING OFFENSE.
26. “Women rule”—women are simply better at the XF communications stuff—
less power obsessed, less hierarchically inclined, more group-team oriented.
27. Every member of our team is an honored contributor.
“ XF project Excellence” is an “all hands” affair.
28. We are our XF Teams! XF project teams are how we get things done.
29. “Wow Projects” rule, large or small—Wow projects demand by
definition XF Excellence.
T he “XF-50”
30. We routinely attempt to unearth and then reward “small
gestures” of XF cooperation.
31. We invite Functional Bigwigs to our XF project team reviews.
32. We insist on Client team participation—from all functions of the
33. An “Open talent market” helps make the projects “silo-free.”
People want in on the project because of the opportunity to do something
memorable—no one will tolerate delays based on traditional functional squabbling.
34. Flat! Flat = Flattened Silos. Flat = Excellence based on XF project
outcomes, not power-hoarding within functional boundaries.
35. New “C-level”? We more or less need a “C-level” job titled Chief Bullshit
Removal Officer. That is, some kind of formal watchdog whose role in life is to make
cross-functionality work, and I.D. those who don’t get with the program.
36. Huge (H-U-G-E) cooperation bonuses. Senior team members who
conspicuously shine in the “working together” bit are rewarded Big Time. (A million
bucks in one case I know—and a non-cooperating very senior was sacked.)
37. Get physical!! “Co-location” is the most powerful “culture changer.”
Physical X-functional proximity is almost a guarantee (yup!) of remarkably improved
cooperation—to aid this, one needs flexible workspaces that can be mobilized for
a team in a flash.
38. Ad hoc. To improve the new “X-functional Culture,” little XF teams should
be formed on the spot to deal with an urgent issue—they may live for but ten days,
but it helps the XF habit, making it normal to be “working the XF way.”
39. “Deep dip.” Dive three levels down in the organization to fill a senior role
with someone who has been proactive on the XF dimension.
40. Formal evaluations. Everyone, starting with the receptionist, should have
an important XF rating component in their evaluation.
41. Demand XF experience for, especially, senior jobs. The military
requires all would-be generals and admirals to have served a full tour in a job whose
only goals were cross-functional. Great idea!
42. Early project “management” experience. Within days, literally, of
coming aboard folks should be “running” some bit of a project, working with folks
from other functions—hence, “all this” (XF stuff) becomes as natural as breathing.
43. “Get ’em out with the customer.” Rarely does the accountant or bench
scientist call on the customer. Reverse that. Give everyone more or less regular
“ customer-facing experiences.” One learns quickly that the customer is not interested
in our in-house turf battles!
T he “XF-50”
44. Put “it” on the–every agenda. XF “issues to be resolved” should be
on every agenda—morning project team review, weekly exec team meeting, etc.
A “next step” within 24 hours (4?) ought to be part of the resolution.
45. XF “honest broker” or ombudsman. The ombudsman examines
XF “friction events” and acts as Conflict Resolution Counselor. (Perhaps a formal
conflict resolution agreement?)
46. Lock it in! XF cooperation, central to any value-added mission, should be
an explicit part of the “Vision Statement.”
47. Promotions. Every promotion, no exceptions, should put XF Excellence in
the top 5 (3?) evaluation criteria.
48. Pick partners based on their “cooperation proclivity.”
Everyone must be on board if “this thing” is going to work; hence every vendor,
among others, should be formally evaluated on their commitment to XF
transparency—e.g., can we access anyone at any level in any function of their
organization without bureaucratic barriers?
49. Fire vendors who don’t “get it”—more than “get it,” welcome “it”
with open arms.
50. Jaw. Jaw. Jaw. Talk XF cooperation-value-added at every opportunity.
Become a relentless bore!
51. Excellence! There is a state of XF Excellence. Pursue it. Talk about it.
1. Pick one of these items that you can start on by yourself in the next 24–48 hours.
2. Do it!
3. Use the list as the trigger for an ongoing discussion.
4. Come to a consensus on the topic of whether “this stuff” is “a good set of action
items”—or the essence of “the way we do things around here.”
5. Regardless of the answer to #4 above, as a team, pick two long-term and three
6. Construct an implementation program for the above.
7. Review, regularly—what works and why, what didn’t work and why.
8. Measure progress—develop a formal “Report Card,” issued semi-annually or annually.
9. Pick a few more items.
10. On a semi-annual basis, review the list as a whole—particulars
and the “spirit of the list.”