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By Rod Miller, Bizkinnect Lead Consultant

Which is your most important team at work? Is it the team you manage, or the team of management peers to which you belong?

If you answered the team you manage, read on! The changes we outline will revolutionize the success of your projects and help break down the corporate silos that so often hinder project success.

Many leaders believe that the team they manage is their most important team. After all, they’re the people you most likely hired! They look to you for direction and guidance and are the group you are building into a functional team. Add to this that you’re usually seated together in the office, thus spending the bulk of your time together. It’s natural to feel that this team is where your strongest loyalties lie.

It’s crucial, however, that your department or project team—meaning those you manage—does NOT hold the number one spot in your time, loyalty and priority. Read on to learn how to prioritize the correct team and ensure your project’s success.

1. Make your management team your first priority.

When you believe your project team should be your main priority, you’ve just created a silo. When a corporate-wide project is in the works, it creates a need for multi-departmental resources such as budget, employee hours and scheduling priority. Add to this the data people use day-to-day—as happens in a Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)- or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)-implementation project—and you have the perfect recipe for a turf-war.

Multi-departmental projects become highly vulnerable to project breakdown as leaders begin to step into other manager’s “fiefdoms.” Walls come up when people believe they need to protect their own departmental teams. Silos can become fortresses.

Why is this? It’s a little thing called loyalty. If you believe your role exists to serve your departmental team, you’ll automatically see other departments as threatening your team’s success through competition for resources. However, if you understand that your primary allegiance is really to the interests of the team of managers on which you serve—your peers— you’ll understand that together, you all exist to accomplish the organization’s current goals.

So, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, make your leadership team of fellow managers your “Team A.” Let your departmental or project team take its true place as your “Team B.” You’ll actually be managing them better by doing so!

2. Know your management team’s “Rallying Cry.”

A “rallying cry” is the project or goal that is your organization’s top priority, as agreed to by management. A good executive team will be making this clear to their managers. If it’s not clear to you, have a conversation with your leadership to understand how they are ranking their current priorities.Where does your project fall in terms of priority? Is it their current rallying cry?

If your project is the current rallying cry, the leadership will offer up their resources to see it accomplished. If it’s not your organization’s number one priority at this time, that’s okay. You’ve just created clarity. Seek to understand where your project does fall within the organizational priorities. This will allow you to set expectations about resources and primacy both within your Team B and outside of it, as you relate to other departments.

3. Use the clarity you’ve obtained within Team A to help create efficiency in Team B.

Now that you know where your project fits within the priorities of the wider organization, use this knowledge to help your team focus their efforts. Are they being called to “all-hands-on-deck” to help another department accomplish an organization-wide rallying cry? Or should they be working steadily on their current projects and feel free to press pause on divergent requests?

Being able to give your Team B this kind of direction will help them to focus their time, energy and resources. In addition, if your team’s project is the organization-wide Rallying Cry, you’ve just created clarity for your team to explain to internal clients why they’re unable to provide certain services in a given time frame or level, for example. Clarity in your Team A leads to freedom and efficiency for your Team B.

4. Know where your fight lies.

Hint: It doesn’t lie with other departmental managers!

If Team B is your de facto priority, your Team A becomes like the United Nations—a group of individuals, each representing their own nation, but not working together as a team.

But when your primary allegiance and priority is to the other departmental leads for the sake of the success of the overall organization, this shifts everything. Now, your fight isn’t to defend yourself and your team from other leaders. Your real battle is to accomplish the Rallying Cry of your leadership team, while leading and encouraging your project team to join in that battle with you. So, make your Team A your priority. Your Team B will thank you for it!

(For further reading on this subject, see Patrick Lencioni’s book, Silos, Politics and Turf Wars and Dr. Eli Goldratt’s Necessary but Not Sufficient.)

Want to learn more about how to use organizational health principles to create project success in your workplace in light of organizational changes like a PLM- or ERP-implementation project? We’re here to help!


Ready to connect?

  • Sign up for the 45-minute webinar, “Conflict and Clarity,” with Bizkinnect’s lead consultant, Rod Miller. In this webinar, Rod shares practical organizational health and change management concepts you can begin to apply today.
  • Would you like a free one-hour consultation? Let’s connect!  We would love to help you as you implement these practices within your own organization.
  • Please note, we now also offer all of our services remotely via video conferencing.
  • If you have any questions, feel free to call us directly.  800-953-8112
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