Do Your Teams Understand the Ripple Effects of Their Work?

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An efficient operation requires seamless orchestration of activities across the business. The seamless orchestration of activities is a challenge for many businesses due to the organization structure and culture. As a result, unintentional negative ripple effects perpetuate across work teams.

There are three ways to help employees become more cognizant of the ripple effects their work creates.

Appreciate the workflow

Employees welcome information on what others do and how they contribute to the success of the business.

To help employees understand why they need to do their work well, the best approach is to educate them about workflows.

For example, a customer support rep is aware that her customer interactions affect customer satisfaction and ultimately, revenue for the business. That general understanding is good but insufficient to motivate her to excel.

By educating her the overall workflow that she is involved in, she has a better appreciation of upstream and downstream activities. She also sees the ripple effects her work generates.

This understanding enables her to incorporate a broader perspective in her decisions and actions. This helps to foster collaboration to improve work not only for herself but others also.

Encourage conversations

Interdependencies across work teams are critical links that determine the efficiency of an operation. This means employees ought to have a thorough understanding of what the interdependencies are.

At each handoff point where information is exchanged, accuracy and completeness are important.

For the customer support rep in the above example, she needs to access information related to the resolution provided to the customer when a complaint was passed on to a tier 2 support rep. The information includes how much refund was promised, for instance, and when the credit was applied to the account. This involves having the tier 2 support rep capturing the right amount of information in a format that can be located easily.

When the two teams engage in conversations about each other’s needs, together, they provide better customer experience. Failing to do so leads to frustrations for the customer and the support reps.

Managers need to encourage frequent dialogues across teams. They reduce work silos and fosters trust.

Foster a collaborative culture

Organization culture impacts employee behaviors. When leaders role model collaborative behaviors, employees witness the cooperation and value interactions with colleagues.

For example, the marketing’s mandate is to launch campaigns. The warehouse team’s mandate is to support order fulfillment for all marketing campaigns. When the marketing manager makes a conscious effort to engage the warehouse manager in developing each campaign, it helps both teams to be better prepared for a successful launch.

The marketing team receives input from the warehouse team on potential logistics issues. They share learnings from previous campaigns and knowledge on trends unfolding in respective areas.

Over time, team members in both teams become very familiar with each other’s work. They look out for each other and alert the other party of issues. More importantly, they collaborate to create better solutions.

A collaborative culture instils an open and cooperative mindset that drives strong team work.

When everyone in the organization understands the overall workflow, its purpose, and the ripple effects of his work, he would be more attentive in his choice of action. In an environment where colleagues welcome input and managers support a collaborative approach, it would enable a powerful cohesive workforce. The outcome is a streamlined operati

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