The (un)cross-functional cross-functional team

With increasing frequency I’m encountering product marketing managers who are managing cross-functional go-to-market teams that never actually (or rarely) meet. Wait for it, wait for it…

Here’s what happens. They’re assigned team members by a committee. Each team member provides a level of needed expertise. The team leader uses them as resources on an as-needed basis, meeting with team members one-on-one to get input. Some team leaders will emphatically state that this approach is more efficient and wastes less time.

But they would be missing the entire point of a cross-functional team!

The interaction and crosstalk that occurs between members in a real-time, live, synchronous situation is the secret sauce of cross-functional teams. It brings context to everyone’s contribution, exposes problems, and mitigates risk.

I’ll admit that at a theoretical level you could make an argument it would require more time of the team leader to plan meetings, conduct them and distribute team status when they already have a full plate. But I can assure you the value gained is far greater than the hassle. You will discover it takes less time provided you’re organized and disciplined in your approach.

What type of cross-functional team leader are you? Synchronous or asynchronous?

How’s that working for you?

David Daniels

David Daniels


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