Improving Cross Functional Team Leadership

Cross Functional Team

Commercial enablement leaders elevate their perspective and lead initiatives that bring people together to simplify the selling system. They do that through cross functional team leadership. Often, they are working with direct reports on the enablement team and leaders in various departments to drive change aligned to new sales strategies.

When there are individual contributors involved, sometimes it’s challenging to align with people who do not fall into the direct reporting line. When others don’t report into the management structure of the commercial enablement leader, what do enablement leaders do? How will they ensure the immediate and extended teams are both cohesive?  

What Does Cohesion Look Like?

  1. Everyone seeks out broader perspectives and encourages each other to share their point of view.
  2. There’s an awareness that friction can happen and willingness to explore the source.
  3. The team understands the projects, programs, and services they’re working toward.
  4. Everyone aligns in terms of concepts, terminology, and processes.

Without these perspectives in place by all members of these teams, it’s hard to create a shared understanding and drive unified action.

Pay Attention to the “First Team” and the “Network Team”

Many companies are organized in silos with many chiefs. To overcome this and be more cohesive, cross functional team leadership is required. This means moving beyond the concept of a “first team,” which is a myopic focus on direct reports only. Instead, a first-team can create a shared purpose in a smaller group before going into the broader organization and impacting the network team of people required to achieve the more comprehensive outcome.

To operate in the first team, network team environment savvy commercial enablement leaders can’t just focus on the group of people immediately around them or report to them. Instead, they build a network of capabilities and skills from across the organization to create maximum value for salespeople and other customer-facing employees.

To achieve cohesion, commercial enablement can focus on the three V’s:

  • Velocity at which you’re producing
  • Volume of workflow
  • Value creation

It’s imperative to start focusing on value when collaborating and building cross functional team leadership. What s the value of what you’re doing? Enablement leaders and teams need to be consistent about managing inputs and feedback from other groups and engaging when creating value with others. As knowledge workers, a way to think about converting the information from someone else or creating something new. Each creates value, especially when groups of people are involved.

Cross functional team leadership

Teams are groups of people pursuing a unified goal and outcome. In the commercial ecosystem, that means seeking something more significant than anyone. Commer al enablement leaders can orchestrate the people, process, information, and technology to create impact and clarify the value they’re providing. When it comes to the broader network team, enablement leaders can make people as happy as possible while also driving impact and having tough conversations. Enablement leaders also need to think about the results and outcomes their company’s customers need. The gap is often massive.

Why the “network team” is critical

What is the network team? It’s the team of people who work together in the reorganization to achieve results, no matter who they report to. Enablement leaders work in this network environment almost exclusively. And that means engaging with others, identifying ways to partner, and enrolling action and commitment with accountability. To increase cross-functional team leadership, commercial enablement leaders must influence and partner with people who likely have different priorities and perspectives. To help, focus on getting them what they need as well. Create a win-win relationship.

As enablement teams engage up, down, and across the organization, they will learn to build productive and connected relationships from the product, marketing, and even human resource teams. How do the actions of the team link with the overall outcomes and results? In other w rds, how does the team’s value fit into the overall value created within the company? It’s constantly evolving, which means people need to lean into innovation and creativity and not get overwhelmed by complexity.

What it means to Enablement Leaders

Enablement leaders connect high-level thinking with what’s happening on the ground in the tactical view. They look to the big-picture vision of strategy because it’s essential. However, t ey also understand how to complement this with more specific questions about the first team and the network team’s value and cadence.

Elevating a team and its value is an essential focus for today’s enablement leaders who must drive the company mission and explore the gaps and challenges creating barriers. Solid cross functional team leadership means increasing cohesion with various groups. A critical focus is on the first team and network team engagement and effectiveness between people.


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