COORDINATION Dilemmas

How do we get the ‘left hand’ and ‘right hand’ working in synchrony?

Firms are having to adapt to the challenges of a globalized economy by increasing in complexity, both in the tasks they perform and the markets they serve.  The firms’ staff must adapt as well, by specializing in their activities, skills and knowledge to an ever greater degree.  However, these specialists have to work together so that their activities can be coordinated to create output that's actually valuable.  The need for coordination becomes even more important as organizational structures keep changing due to acquisitions, restructurings and outsourcing.  Over the last thirty years we should therefore have learned, through painful experience, to coordinate different units effectively.  But there are plenty of examples of the functioning of complex organizations being anything but 'joined up'.

How do we foster effective collaboration across geographical silos?  And how can we unleash the potential that exists within our cross-functional teams?