many companies, there is an ongoing debate about the role internal competition plays in the organization’s effectiveness. Some argue that it drives innovation, accountability, and personal ambition: Pit your people against one another, the thinking goes, and the winners will push themselves harder. But others find that internal competition discourages meaningful collaboration and increases employee dissatisfaction. We believe internal competition makes it harder to develop cross-functional capabilities. Resources are scarce in almost every company, but the real competition is outside your firm, and you need everyone pulling together, regardless of functional boundaries. You can’t afford to split your IT, procurement, or training competency among two or more internal rivals. When people see their efforts make a difference, they create cross-functional teams that work. Instead of internal competition, focus on developing real teams, dedicated to building distinctive capabilities and bringing them to scale. Though your team members come from different specializations, they will work easily and closely together if they are achieving a single powerful purpose. That’s why you need to articulate a clear understanding of your company’s right to win and the role each team plays in ensuring that success. When people see how their efforts make a difference, they create the kind of cross-functional teams that work.
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- Fall '18
- Dr Fred Rose
- The A-Team, CEMEX, Jon Katzenbach