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What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

  • It’s been great every time: 17.3%
  • It’s been OK most times: 40.7%
  • It’s been hit-or-miss: 32.0%
  • It’s been horrible: 3.3%
  • I’ve never worked on a cross-functional team:6.7%

Cross-functional teams function — most of the time. Most of you have had good experiences on cross-functional teams. For those who have had it be hit-or-miss, consider the following culprits for the misses: team members aren’t fully committed to provide time and effort, they don’t have their supervisor’s support, goals aren’t aligned or there’s no clear charter for the team. These are some of the most common dysfunctions of a cross-functional team. All of these can be solved during the initial stages of forming the team. Do all you can to drive commitment, alignment and direction as soon as the project starts. Skipping that step can spell disaster.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”