Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour
Today the most promising innovation and business opportunities require collaboration among functions, offices, and organizations. To realize them, companies must break down silos and get people working together across boundaries. But that’s a challenge for many leaders. Employees naturally default to focusing on vertical relationships, and formal restructuring is costly, confusing, and slow. What, then, is the solution?Engaging in four activities that promote horizontal teamwork: (1) developing cultural brokers, or employees who excel at connecting across divides; (2) encouraging people to ask questions in an open-ended, unbiased way that genuinely explores others’ thinking; (3) getting people to actively take other points of view; and (4) broadening employees’ vision to include more-distant networks.By supporting these activities, leaders can help employees connect with new pools of expertise and learn from and relate to people who think very differently from them. And when that happens, interface collaboration will become second nature.