The Mortar that binds us together

by Rowley, Mike on 2/7/2013 6:17 PM
It seems to me that when we act as a business we always come back to organizing ourselves in a hierarchical manner – a pyramid – echoing the stability and strength of those ancient structures. Let me offer an observation about such grand buildings: it is the mortar, not the bricks, which contains the true power. It fills the gaps, binds the bricks, and really holds the assembly together.
In our organization, some of our top talent recognizes this. They act more like mortar than bricks. They socialize and network with as many people as they can, and really hold our organization together. These people can work across departments and boundaries to connect the blocks and bricks that support our company. The problem is that we don’t have enough of these people, especially at lower levels in our organization!
Think about it: who can order support, development, and sales to work together at the mid- and small-team levels in our organization? No one. If there is a problem between departments, even for a very small client concern, it has to be escalated to the highest levels to get any work done. Not only does this waste the talents of our leaders, it wastes their time, too. They can’t focus on building strong teams because they are always putting out fires.
My idea would be to form many cross-functional teams between departments to become the mortar in our organization. They would work at the entry, mid, and enterprise levels of scope to foster efficient working relationships with other departments, break down the barrier of outmoded procedures and encourage personal responsibility across our service areas. We all have our specialties, but we are not using them as a team. In my mind every employee would remain part of a traditional department, but also be on a customer service team with members of other departments. Each team would address client issues together. These interdepartmental teams would be assigned to specific clients so they can grow the relationships to new levels.

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